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Metabolism. 1999 Jul;48(7):922-7.

The value of combined radionuclide and magnetic resonance imaging in the diagnosis and conservative management of minimal or localized osteomyelitis of the foot in diabetic patients.

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Service d'Endocrinologie, Hôpital Henri Mondor, Créteil, France.


Early diagnosis of osteomyelitis is helpful for a successful conservative treatment. The value of bone scanning combined with granulocytes labeled with hexamethylpropylene amine oxime (HMPAO) granulocyte-Tc99m (GN) radionuclide imaging (combined [RI]) with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the diagnosis of osteomyelitis was assessed in 24 diabetic patients with foot ulcers. Evidence of osteomyelitis was based on the presence of at least one of the following criteria: (1) clinical bone involvement, (2) radiological bone involvement, (3) both positive combined RI and MRI, and (4) evidence of clinical bone involvement during the follow-up period. Thirteen patients had osteomyelitis. Seven patients had clinical bone involvement (sensitivity, 54%), five had radiological bone involvement (sensitivity, 38%), and 10 had positive combined RI for osteomyelitis (sensitivity, 77%). MRI demonstrated a higher sensitivity (100%). The specificity for combined RI and MRI was 82%. These results lead to a new diagnostic strategy for the early detection of minimal or localized osteomyelitis to avoid amputations. MRI is most appropriate following a negative x-ray in determining whether to treat osteomyelitis, since a negative MRI result rules out osteomyelitis. Antibiotic therapy should be used in the case of a positive MRI result, but Charcot joint disease can lead to false-positive MRI results. In this case, combined RI should be performed.

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