avascular necrosis
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BONE ISLAND, FL –  A condition long known by a scary-sounding name has been renamed at the American Society for Surgeons of the Hand of the Lower Extremity (ASSHLE) annual meeting here in sunny Bone Island in Key West, Florida.

avascular necrosisThis is mostly due to an overwhelming amount of unnecessary tests and consultations that have been ordered for this chronic, but not-so-chronic-sounding, condition.

“This condition,” ASSHLE president Greg Stumpleforth told us, “which involves the slow death of bone at a joint, typically affecting the hip or shoulder and often found in patients with sickle-cell disease, long-term steroid use, and in scuba divers, is not in any sense of the word an ’emergency.’  It happens over the course of months to years.  However, with the word “necrosis” in there, physicians in all the other specialties get frightened and immediately consult orthopaedics, hoping we can make the necrosis go away.”

Long story short, they cannot.  Nobody reliably can. The patients typically go on to require total joint replacement, which is performed as an outpatient.

“We feel this new name more accurately reflects the nature of this disease.  It also cutely references SCUBA divers, who can sometimes get this condition.  Do you see what I did there?”

Interestingly, another specialty is also celebrating this change.  The Infectious Diseases Society of America or IDSA, whose members have long been shotgun-consulted for this condition as well by stumped primary teams, released a statement today: “ASSHLE made a great stride forward in science today by renaming AVN to SCUBA.  We see what you did there.  And thank you.”

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