Aseptic Necrosis (Avascular Necrosis or Osteonecrosis)

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Catherine Burt Driver, MD
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.

What is the prognosis of aseptic necrosis?

Aseptic necrosis causes a serious injury to affected bone. Frequently, this leads to permanent destruction of the adjacent joint. Early core decompression is generally necessary to prevent collapse of affected bone. Aseptic necrosis can be complicated by complete loss of joint function.

Is it possible to prevent aseptic necrosis?

People can prevent aseptic necrosis by minimizing the use of steroid medications when possible and by treating underlying medical conditions, such as those described above, that can increase the risk of developing aseptic necrosis. Avoiding trauma to joints can prevent posttraumatic aseptic necrosis. Avoiding smoking can decrease risk of developing aseptic necrosis.

Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery


Koopman, William, et al., eds. "Clinical Primer of Rheumatology." Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2003.

Ruddy, Shaun, et al., eds. "Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology." Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co., 2000.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/30/2016

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