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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2003 Aug;30(8):1096-103. Epub 2003 May 22.

Rapid normalization of osseous FDG uptake following traumatic or surgical fractures.

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Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 110 Donner Bldg, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


It is known that following a traumatic fracture or surgical intervention, bone scintigraphy reveals positive results for an extended period of time, posing a challenge when evaluating patients for possible malignancy or superimposed osteomyelitis. Previous reports indicate that acute fractures can also result in increased fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) accumulation and therefore cause difficulties when patients are evaluated for other indications by FDG-PET. The purpose of this study was to assess the pattern and time course of abnormal FDG uptake following traumatic or surgical fracture. A total of 1,517 consecutive patients who underwent whole-body FDG-PET imaging were retrospectively studied. A history of fractures or orthopedic intervention was obtained from an interview prior to scanning. The FDG-PET results were compared with the results of other imaging studies, including bone scans, radiographs, CT, and MRI, as well as surgical pathology reports. Thirty-seven patients with a known date of traumatic or surgical fracture were identified. Among these, 14 had fractures or surgery within 3 months prior to FDG-PET, while 23 had fractures or surgical intervention greater than 3 months prior to FDG-PET. FDG-PET showed no abnormally increased uptake at the known fracture or surgical sites in 30 of these patients. Notably, in the 23 patients with fractures more than 3 months old, all but one showed no abnormally increased uptake. Furthermore, the positive FDG uptake in this exception was a result of complicating osteomyelitis. In the 14 patients with a history of fracture less than 3 months old, only six had abnormally increased FDG uptake. Following traumatic or surgical fractures, FDG uptake is expected to be normal within 3 months unless the process is complicated by infection or malignancy.

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