Semin Musculoskelet Radiol 2004; 8(3): 205-213
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-835361
Copyright © 2004 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA.

Scintigraphic Techniques for the Diagnosis of Infectious Disease of the Musculoskeletal System

Joachim Sciuk1
  • 1Department of Nuclear Medicine, Klinikum Augsburg, Augsburg, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
11 October 2004 (online)

In imaging infectious diseases of the musculoskeletal system, the metabolic information provided by nuclear medicine studies complements the structural information of radiologic modalities. Often the diagnosis can be confirmed by combining the methods in a diagnostic algorithm. The decision about whether a single study is best depends on the clinical setting and the questions that require an answer. Whereas radiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) usually focus on a single area, nuclear medicine imaging offers the advantage of whole body imaging. However, despite significant improvements it cannot approach the detailed anatomical visualization provided by MRI or CT. In most cases scintigraphy is a very sensitive (e.g., bone scan, positron emission tomography) and often quite specific tool (e.g., white blood cell scintigraphy). The metabolic information of the single scintigraphic procedure depends on the accumulation mechanism. For the work-up of infectious disorders different radiopharmaceuticals can be used, and the decision for the best modality should be tailored to the clinical question and the special pathophysiologic condition of the infection. This article describes the most common nuclear medicine studies and their clinical relevance in some infectious diseases.


Joachim Sciuk, M.D. 

Klinik für Nuklearmedizin, Klinikum Augsburg, Stenglinstrasse 2

86156 Augsburg, Germany