, Volume 35, Issue 11, pp 2122-2132,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 15 Aug 2008

FDG-PET for diagnosing prosthetic joint infection: systematic review and metaanalysis



The aim of this study was to systematically review and metaanalyze published data on the diagnostic performance of 18F-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) in detecting prosthetic hip or knee joint infection.


A systematic search for relevant studies was performed of the PubMed/MEDLINE and Embase databases. Two reviewers independently assessed the methodological quality of each study. A metaanalysis of the reported sensitivity and specificity of each study was performed. Subgroup analyses were performed if results of individual studies were heterogeneous.


The inclusion criteria were met by 11 studies; there was a total sample size of 635 prostheses. Overall, the studies had good methodological quality. Pooled sensitivity and specificity of FDG-PET for the detection of prosthetic hip or knee joint infection were 82.1% (95%CI = 68.0–90.8%) and 86.6% (95%CI = 79.7–91.4%), respectively. Heterogeneity among the results of individual studies was present (I 2 = 68.8%). Diagnostic performance was influenced by type of joint prostheses (hip prostheses vs. knee prostheses) and type of reconstruction method used (filtered back vs. iterative) (p = 0.0164 and p = 0.0235, respectively).


In this metaanalysis, overall diagnostic performance of FDG-PET was moderate to high. Caution is warranted, however, because results of individual studies were heterogeneous and could not be fully explored. Future studies should further explore potential causes of heterogeneity and validate the use of FDG-PET for diagnosing prosthetic joint infection.