What is osteolysis?

osteolysis it is a condition in which the immune system triggers an attempt to resorb bone into the body. Associated with a number of bone and joint disorders, the condition can also sometimes occur when artificial joints are implanted. There are several different types of this condition, including distal clavicular osteolysis.

The process begins when the body detects some type of material that is considered a threat. The immune system triggers the release of osteoclasts to isolate and slowly absorb the material back into the body, where it can be converted into non-threatening materials. Unfortunately, osteolysis can also begin to break down healthy bone tissue when the immune system misidentifies the nature of the so-called foreign material.

The most common examples of osteolysis involve the use of artificial joints and implants, such as total shoulder replacement, artificial hips, and artificial knee joints. It is not unusual for small natural bone fragments, as well as small plastic or metal fragments used in the implant, to wear away from the main bone or implant sections. When this happens, the immune system seeks to cleanse the area by absorbing those stray particle fragments from the area.

Although this condition does not normally produce many symptoms, the results of the condition can be serious. Over time, the implant can become misaligned, making it impossible for the artificial joint to function properly. At the same time, this change can put additional pressure on the remaining bone in the area, which can lead to a fracture or a complete break. With both of these events, the chances of some kind of damage to the surrounding tissue opens up the possibility of infection and inflammation which can become quite painful.

However, osteolysis can also occur when artificial joints are not present. Distal osteolysis, also known as clavicular or distal clavicular osteolysis, is a problem sometimes experienced by people who lift heavy weights. For example, a professional bodybuilder may put a great deal of stress on various joints, especially those around the collarbone. The end result is the activation of the immune system to clean up lost bone particles that could lead to further bone erosion. Over time, this weakens the collarbone and therefore affects the shoulders' ability to function properly during weightlifting exercises.

Due to the nature of osteolysis, it is sometimes necessary to undergo what is known as revision surgery. This type of surgery is used to replace the artificial joint with a new unit, repair as much damage as possible, and hopefully allow the individual to enjoy an equitable quality of life. However, it is important to note that not everyone who receives a shoulder, knee, or hip replacement will experience osteolysis. Regular checkups will help identify the problem early on and allow action to be taken before any serious damage occurs.

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