Aseptic Necrosis (otherwise known as Avascular Necrosis or Osteonecrosis) is a condition that causes bone death due to the lack of blood supply on that area of the bone. This condition can cause a tiny break on the bone, weakening it and affecting its normal functions. Eventually, the bone may collapse.

Common causes of aseptic necrosis include traumas or accidents that result in a broken bone or joint dislocation. Other causes include damage to blood vessels, inflammation of the blood vessel walls, hypercoagulation, and poor blood flow on the bone.

Furthermore, alcohol abuse and steroid use are also common risk factors.


The main symptom of Aseptic Necrosis is pain. However, in the early stages of this condition, pain cannot be felt in the affected area. Because of this, a person may not be aware that he already has this condition. Pain only arises when the condition worsens. Here are the common symptoms:

  • Joints hurt when weight is applied (most common in the hip joint)
  • Pain when lying down
  • Pain when walking when the knee is affected
  • Painful and decreased range of motion of the shoulder joint 

The pain is usually mild. However, it will gradually worsen and is persistent.


To obtain a diagnosis, the doctor will interview the patient for a history of trauma and accident that may have caused bone injury and joint dislocation. A physical exam will also be conducted on the affected area, along with checking for swelling, tenderness, and range of motion.

Imaging tests like multiple X-ray tests can be conducted to look for bone damages and bone changes in the later findings. An MRI, CT Scan, and bone scan may also be conducted to obtain a more accurate diagnosis.


If the condition was diagnosed in its early stages, the patient is advised to take a rest, use assistive devices like crutches if necessary, and attend physical therapy for exercises to improve range of motion. Doctors may also prescribe medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and osteoporosis drugs, depending on the severity of the condition.

Joint replacement surgery will only be required if the condition becomes very serious.

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