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It is possible that the main title of the report Osteonecrosis is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Osteonecrosis, also known as avascular necrosis, is a disease resulting from the temporary or permanent loss of the blood supply to the bones. Without blood, the bone tissue dies and causes the bone to collapse. If the process involves the bones near a joint, it often leads to collapse of the joint surface. This disease also is known, aseptic necrosis, and ischemic bone necrosis.

Although it can happen in any bone, osteonecrosis most commonly affects the ends (epiphysis) of long bones such as the femur, the bone extending from the knee joint to the hip joint. Other common sites include the upper arm bone, knees, shoulders, and ankles. The disease may affect just one bone, more than one bone at the same time, or more than one bone at different times. Orthopaedic doctors most often diagnose the disease.

The amount of disability that results from osteonecrosis depends on what part of the bone is affected, how large an area is involved, and how effectively the bone rebuilds itself. The process of bone rebuilding takes place after an injury as well as during normal growth. Normally, bone continuously breaks down and rebuilds--old bone is reabsorbed and replaced with new bone. The process keeps the skeleton strong and helps it to maintain a balance of minerals. In the course of osteonecrosis, however, the healing process is usually ineffective and the bone tissues break down faster than the body can repair them. If left untreated, the disease progresses, the bone collapses, and the joint surface breaks down, leading to pain and arthritis.

Supporting Organizations

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

6300 North River Road
Rosemont, IL 60018-4262
Tel: (847)823-7186
Fax: (847)823-8125
Email: custserv@aaos.org
Website: http://www.aaos.org/

Arthritis Foundation

1330 West Peachtree Street, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30309
Tel: (404)872-7100
Tel: (800)283-7800
Email: arthritisfoundation@arthritis.org
Website: http://www.arthritis.org

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
Website: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Information Clearinghouse
One AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
Tel: (301)495-4484
Fax: (301)718-6366
Tel: (877)226-4267
Email: NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov
Website: http://www.niams.nih.gov/

NIH/Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center

2 AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3676
Tel: (301)495-4484
Fax: (301)718-6366
Tel: (877)226-4267
Email: NIHBoneInfo@mail.nih.gov
Website: http://www.bones.nih.gov

National Osteonecrosis Foundation

Good Samaritan Professional Building
5601 Loch Raven Blvd., Suite 201
Baltimore, MD 21239
Tel: (410)532-5985
Fax: (410)532-5908
Website: http://www.nonf.org

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

Last Updated:  6/11/2009
Copyright  2009 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.