In late stages, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish osteonecrosis from other degenerative problems such as advanced osteoarthritis. If there are advanced x-ray changes, then there is likely no treatment options for osteonecrosis except for possible joint replacement. In the early stages of osteonecrosis, diagnosis is made by MRI and depending on the changes seen, can be specific as well as sensitive.
About Alan Matsumoto, M.D.
Part-time Faculty, Division of Rheumatology
Johns Hopkins University