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What are some treatment options for osteonecrosis?

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Quick Answer

Treatment options for osteonecrosis include limiting weight-bearing movements of affected areas, using pain medication and surgical intervention, according to the American College of Rheumatology. Common surgical procedures include core decompression, osteotomy and bone grafting.

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Full Answer

There is no research as of 2015 showing the best treatment option for osteonecrosis, but early treatment before bone collapse is most effective, states the American College of Rheumatology. Patients with early osteonecrosis in small bone areas may respond well to conservative treatment including use of painkillers and limited weight-bearing motions such as walking. However, patients facing hip or knee osteonecrosis and possible bone collapse may require surgery.

Using core decompression, the surgeon attempts to improve blood flow to the affected area by removing the core of the bone, according to the American College of Rheumatology. In more advanced cases, surgeons may remove dead bone tissue and manipulate the remaining bone so it can support weight in an osteotomy. If the bone has already collapsed, a joint replacement may be needed. The surgeon may also attempt to support the bone and improve blood flow with a bone graft, a piece of the patient's own healthy bone transplanted to the affected area. In cases of jaw osteonecrosis, removal of dead tissue and use of a medicated mouthwash and antibiotics often improves the condition.

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