Which clinical history findings are characteristic of avascular necrosis (AVN)?

Updated: Dec 05, 2020
  • Author: Sunny B Patel, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Avascular necrosis (AVN) may be asymptomatic and is occasionally discovered incidentally on radiographs. Symptoms depend on the affected joint. Medullary infarcts are usually silent, and infarcts of the small bones of the hands and feet are often symptomatic.

Pain in the affected joint is typically the presenting symptom of AVN, regardless of the location. Patients with AVN of the femoral head often report groin or anterior thigh pain that is exacerbated by weight bearing. The pain may initially be mild but progressively worsens over time and subsequently may be present at rest or at night.

Large infarcts, such as those due to Gaucher disease and hemoglobinopathies, are associated with very severe pain.

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