Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 39, Issue 10, pp 957–971 | Cite as

Imaging of musculoskeletal soft tissue infections

  • Marcin B. Turecki
  • Mihra S. Taljanovic
  • Alana Y. Stubbs
  • Anna R. Graham
  • Dean A. Holden
  • Tim B. Hunter
  • Lee F. Rogers
Review Article


Prompt and appropriate imaging work-up of the various musculoskeletal soft tissue infections aids early diagnosis and treatment and decreases the risk of complications resulting from misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. The signs and symptoms of musculoskeletal soft tissue infections can be nonspecific, making it clinically difficult to distinguish between disease processes and the extent of disease. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the imaging modality of choice in the evaluation of soft tissue infections. Computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, radiography and nuclear medicine studies are considered ancillary. This manuscript illustrates representative images of superficial and deep soft tissue infections such as infectious cellulitis, superficial and deep fasciitis, including the necrotizing fasciitis, pyomyositis/soft tissue abscess, septic bursitis and tenosynovitis on different imaging modalities, with emphasis on MRI. Typical histopathologic findings of soft tissue infections are also presented. The imaging approach described in the manuscript is based on relevant literature and authors’ personal experience and everyday practice.


Soft tissue infection Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) Imaging 


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Copyright information

© ISS 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcin B. Turecki
    • 1
  • Mihra S. Taljanovic
    • 1
  • Alana Y. Stubbs
    • 2
  • Anna R. Graham
    • 3
  • Dean A. Holden
    • 1
  • Tim B. Hunter
    • 1
  • Lee F. Rogers
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyUniversity of Arizona HSCTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologySouthern Arizona VA Health Care SystemTucsonUSA
  3. 3.Department of PathologyUniversity of Arizona HSCTucsonUSA

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