The humerus, or upper arm bone, connects with the shoulder at the glenohumeral joint. The top, or head, of the humerus is the “ball” of the shoulder ball-and-socket joint. Osteonecrosis, also called avascular necrosis (AVN), of the shoulder, involves bone death of the humeral head that can cause shoulder pain. Dr. Steven Struhl is an orthopedic surgeon and shoulder specialist who offers osteonecrosis (AVN) of the shoulder treatment at his clinics in NYC and Westchester.

Causes of Osteonecrosis of the Shoulder

Osteonecrosis of the shoulder is caused by a lack of blood supply to the top of the humerus bone, or head. This can be caused by a wide variety of factors or may occur without a known cause. Fractures to the humerus are the most commonly linked event to AVN, but other possible causes include steroid use, chemotherapy and certain diseases like sickle cell. When the blood supply is interrupted, a portion of the bone can die, usually at the very top of the humeral head.

The symptoms of osteonecrosis, or AVN, of the shoulder include pain and a crackling sound when moving the joint. The humeral head can collapse and cause pain or dysfunction. The changes to the cartilage on the humeral head can also cause shoulder joint pain. Once blood supply is returned to the bone, new bone is formed and replaces the dead bone. This can cause damage to the cartilage as the old bone is replaced. Pieces of the cartilage can become loose in the shoulder joint causing irritation.

Osteonecrosis (AVN) of the shoulder treatment depends on the stage of bone death, and if the cartilage is affected. Some treatments can include core depression of the humerus, arthroscopy to remove damaged cartilage or shoulder joint replacement.

If you have shoulder pain or have been diagnosed with AVN, contact us at Shoulders & Knees. Our top orthopedic surgeon and shoulder specialist, Dr. Steven Struhl, can provide a thorough exam, diagnosis and will recommend a treatment plan to give you relief for your shoulder pain or osteonecrosis.