Osteomyelitis: a review of currently used imaging techniques
- Cite this article as:
- Sammak, B., El Bagi, M., Al Shahed, M. et al. Eur Radiol (1999) 9: 894. doi:10.1007/s003300050763
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Conventional radiographs remain the initial imaging modality involved in the diagnosis of osteomyelitis. Bone scintigraphy and its specific agents did not only eliminate the problems of inherent low sensitivity of conventional radiographs, but also increased the specificity to higher degrees. Spiral CT, on the other hand, has solved several diagnostic problems, such as osteomyelitis of the sterno-clavicular junction and hidden areas in the pelvic bones. Magnetic resonance imaging with its multiplanar capability, greater anatomic details and excellent soft tissue bone marrow contrast resolution has a significant role in surgical planning and limb preservation. Ultrasound and US-guided aspiration has recently been involved in the diagnosis and management of osteomyelitis with several advantages particularly in children. Our goal in this review is to outline the ability of various imaging techniques by comparing their strengths and weaknesses in the diagnosis of osteomyelitis. Finally, we suggest various imaging algorithms for specific clinical scenarios. Spondylitis and septic arthritis are not discussed in this review.