Radionuclide Imaging in the Diagnosis and Management of Orthopaedic Disease

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Abstract

Nuclear medicine imaging is often used in the diagnosis and management of several orthopaedic conditions. Bone scintigraphy measures gamma ray emission to detect the distribution of an injected radiolabeled tracer on multiple image projections. In general, this imaging modality has relatively high sensitivity but low specificity in the diagnosis of occult fractures, bone tumors, metabolic bone disease, and infection. Positron emission tomography measures tissue metabolism and perfusion by detecting short half-life positron ray emission of an injected radiopharmaceutical tracer. Historically, positron emission tomography has been used only to monitor bone metastasis and aid in the diagnosis of osteomyelitis; however, this technology has recently been applied to other orthopaedic conditions for which current imaging modalities are insufficient.

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