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Radiographics. 2012 May-Jun;32(3):865-78. doi: 10.1148/rg.323115110.

Pediatric osteomyelitis: a scintigraphic case-based review.

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Department of Radiology, Staten Island University Hospital, 475 Seaview Ave, Staten Island, NY 10305, USA.


This review presents techniques to optimize bone scintigraphy for evaluation of the spectrum of abnormalities associated with pediatric osteomyelitis, with an emphasis on the approaches to patient preparation and positioning and to interpretation. The diagnosis of pediatric osteomyelitis can be challenging for several different reasons. Bone scintigraphy is especially useful when the site of osteomyelitis is unclear. Other imaging modalities, including radiography, ultrasonography, and magnetic resonance imaging, all have advantages and may have a role in evaluating the condition of the child with osteomyelitis. Pathophysiologic considerations unique to children contribute to a different clinical presentation of osteomyelitis in the pediatric population than that seen in adults. In addition, patient movement degrades image quality substantially, which is an important consideration for imaging children. Neonates have a higher incidence of multifocal osteomyelitis, and they represent a unique subset of the pediatric population with separate considerations. Several examples illustrate techniques to optimize imaging, as well as show the spectrum of abnormalities associated with pediatric osteomyelitis. Careful attention to bone scintigraphic technique ensures that high-quality images can be obtained, which will allow confident diagnosis of pediatric osteomyelitis.

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