Purpose Fracture-related infection (FRI) is a complication of surgical fracture treatment and can be challenging to diagnose. Recent studies show promising results for the use of either FDG-PET/CT or WBC/anti-granulocyte scintigraphy. The purpose of this pictorial essay is to outline recent developments in nuclear imaging techniques to diagnose FRI. Methods The current literature on this topic is reviewed. Additionally, three examples of patients who underwent nuclear imaging as part of their clinical work-up and surgical treatment for FRI are presented. Results Based on recent retrospective studies, FDG-PET/CT (accuracy 0.83) and WBC scintigraphy with SPECT/CT (accuracy 0.92) both have a good diagnostic accuracy for diagnosing fracture-related infection. Nuclear imaging contributes to a correct diagnosis in patients with FRI. Conclusion Retrospective studies show promising results for both FDG-PET/CT and WBC scintigraphy with SPECT/CT in diagnosing FRI. A prospective, multicenter study (IFI trial), directly comparing MRI, FDG-PET/CT, and WBC scintigraphy with SPECT/CT in patients with suspected FRI, is currently in progress.
- Fracture-related infection
- WBC scintigraphy