Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic staff
During the exam, your doctor will press around your joint, checking for tenderness. He or she may also move your joints through a variety of positions to see if your range of motion has been reduced.
Many disorders can cause joint pain. Imaging tests can help pinpoint the proper diagnosis.
- X-rays. In the early stages of avascular necrosis, X-rays usually appear normal. But X-rays can often reveal bone changes that occur in later stages of the disease.
- Bone scan. For a bone scan, a small amount of radioactive material is injected into your vein. This material then travels to the parts of your bones that are injured or healing, and shows up as bright spots on the imaging plate.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI scans can show early changes in the bone that may indicate avascular necrosis. MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed images of internal structures.
- Firestein GS, et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1807/0.html. Accessed Feb. 28, 2012.
- Questions and answers about osteonecrosis (avascular necrosis). National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Osteonecrosis/default.asp. Accessed Feb. 28, 2012.
- Jones LC. Osteonecrosis (avascular necrosis of bone). http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Feb. 28, 2012.