Imaging Findings in Avascular Necrosis

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Bone infarction may occur spontaneously, but is often secondary to a specific insult. Known precipitants include trauma, steroid usage, vasculitis, hemoglobinopathy, and several less common entities. The clinical spectrum of disease ranges from asymptomatic, incidentally discovered cases to instances of debilitating pain. Spontaneous regression may occur, but more often a course of conservative or surgical treatment is required. Recovery from the initial event is variable. Avascular necrosis of bone has many different imaging manifestations and can occur in any anatomic area. Regardless of clinical outcome, there are often permanent imaging changes. This review article illustrates and discusses the conventional radiographic, CT, and MRI findings of bone devascularization; provides correlations between these modalities at similar stages of disease; and shows examples of osteonecrosis in a variety of locations.

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