Avascular Necrosis “AVN” or Osteonecrosis “ON” are the terms used to describe parts of your bones that die. Most commonly this occurs in the shoulder and hip, but also can occur in the knees and really anywhere else in your body that you have a bone!
There are 4 stages of avascular necrosis which depict the severity of the bone death. Depending on the stage, there are many different treatment options available. The problem with treating AVN is that there are so many different treatment options because none of them are highly successful.
What basically happened was that my femur bone had a stroke like event occur. The blood supply was cut off in two parts of the bone and, because your bones need blood to survive, those two parts died. There is no way to revive the bone, once it’s dead it’s dead. My doctor described the consistency to me as being similar to that of a mushroom. Not stable, but ‘squishy’ bone.
There are many procedures out there that can “help” AVN. Because there are several different ways to treat it, no one way is a sure fix. If AVN occurs in patients of an older age the doctor will do a hip or knee replacement. In my case, because there are so many other factors going on as well, a knee replacement isn’t in the cards right now.
I’ve seen countless doctors (read about Dr. Glueck here), tried acupuncture (post 1 & post 2), the blood thinner lovenox (update 1 & update 2), have been on crutches for 2 ½ years, have tried braces, LifeForce Therapy, stim machines, creams, essential oils . . . you name it. Determined to try everything PRIOR to resorting to a surgical procedure, I really tried to do a ton of research and seek out the best advice.
I have met so many doctors who basically told me they couldn’t do anything for me, other doctors who told me to walk on crutches for 10 more years and then get a knee replacement, and others who suggested drilling into my bone, cadaver grafts and core decompressions. I’m currently exploring a stem cell and PRP injection procedure.
The following resources are beneficial for all AVN warriors:
The AVN Facebook group above is a private group, which I administer, to help bring support to patients and caregivers. This is a wonderful forum to ask questions, give advice and help connect with others from all over the world. I urge you to check it out and join in the conversations!
Amazon has a program called ‘Smile Amazon’ which gives .05% of your purchase back to a charity of your choosing. I buy a lot of things on amazon, since it’s hard to get to the store all the time, and have selected the Osteonecrosis Avascular Necrosis Support Group International Assoc to give back to.
The following are personal avascular necrosis blogs you should check out: