Complications of SCD: Avascular Necrosis (Death of Bone Tissue)

At a glance

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited blood disorders associated with severe pain and complications that can affect the entire body. This page provides information on SCD and avascular necrosis (death of bone tissue).

Hip pain, skeleton x-ray, 3D illustration.


Sickled cells can block blood flow in blood vessels that provide blood to bones in our body. When the bone does not get enough oxygen, the bone tissue can die, a complication known as avascular necrosis (AVN). When there is not enough blood reaching the bone, the joint can narrow and the bone can collapse. AVN can affect single joints or multiple joints at the same time.

The most common location of an AVN occurring is the hip joint, but it can also occur in other areas of the body.


AVN can occur without any symptoms, but as AVN progresses, it can result in mild to severe joint pain in the affected area.