Avascular necrosis (AVN), also called osteonecrosis, aseptic necrosis, or ischemic bone necrosis, is a condition that occurs when there is loss of blood to the bone. If not stopped, this process eventually causes the bone to collapse. Avascular necrosis most commonly occurs in the hip.

When disease or injury prevents the blood supply from flowing freely to a bone, cells in the bone begin to die. As the bone withers, the surrounding cartilage begins to fail, producing pain and other symptoms. This condition, called avascular necrosis or osteonecrosis, is most commonly found in the top of the thighbone. It usually strikes between the ages of 30 and 60, but can affect anyone at any age. The disease gets worse over time.

Avascular necrosis of the hip occurs when blood flow to the top portion of the thighbone (femur) is interrupted. The affected portion of the bone consists of the head and neck. When it’s deprived of blood, this part of the bone begins to “die,”.

Causes of avascular necrosis

Avascular necrosis can follow a hip fracture or a hip dislocation. It can also result from diabetes, sickle cell anemia, kidney disease, alcoholism, gout, and Gaucher’s disease. High doses or prolonged use of steroid medications can lead to the problem. So can decompression sickness.

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