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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1992 Mar;158(3):599-602.

Radiation-induced insufficiency fractures of the pelvis: evaluation with 99mTc-methylene diphosphonate scintigraphy.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


99mTc-methylene diphosphonate (99mTc-MDP) bone scans in 80 patients, 30-80 years old (average, 62 years old) with uterine cancer who received high doses of radiation (10-60 Gy; average, 46 Gy) were reviewed retrospectively to evaluate the frequency of pelvic insufficiency fractures caused by radiotherapy and to study the appearance of the fractures on bone scans. Bone scans in 29 of 80 patients showed abnormalities in the pelvis: insufficiency fractures were identified in 27 patients (34%) and osseous metastases were found in two patients (3%). The fractures and metastases were diagnosed by CT and were confirmed by observing the patients' clinical courses. Fractures were identified in 27 (39%) of 69 postmenopausal women and in none of 11 premenopausal patients (p greater than .05). Fractures were found in 21 (84%) of 25 patients who had pelvic pain and in six (11%) of 55 patients who were asymptomatic (p greater than .001). Scintigrams in patients with fractures showed more than one fracture in most patients (85%), and fractures were often symmetric (67%). Scintigrams in two patients with osseous metastases showed increased activity in an iliac wing that was outside the radiation field. Our results suggest that a marked increase in insufficiency fractures occurs after radiation therapy, especially in postmenopausal patients. A symmetric area of increased uptake of radionuclide is a characteristic scintigraphic appearance of an insufficiency fracture.

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