Which processes result in bone and joint destruction in sickle cell disease (SCD)?

Updated: May 12, 2021
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

The skeletal manifestations of sickle cell disease result from changes in bone and bone marrow caused by chronic tissue hypoxia, which is exacerbated by episodic occlusion of the microcirculation by the abnormal sickle cells. The main processes that lead to bone and joint destruction in sickle cell disease are as follows:

  • Infarction of bone and bone marrow
  • Compensatory bone marrow hyperplasia
  • Secondary  osteomyelitis
  • Secondary growth defects

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