BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: (18)F-FDG PET is a widely used tool for molecular imaging of oncological, cardiovascular, and neurological disorders. We evaluated (18)F-FDG microPET as an implant osteomyelitis imaging tool using a Staphylococcus aureus-induced peroperative implant infection in rabbits. METHODS: Intramedullary titanium nails were implanted in contaminated and uncontaminated (control) proximal right tibiae of rabbits. Tibiae were quantitatively assessed with microPET for (18)F-FDG uptake before and sequentially at 1, 3, and 6 weeks after surgery. Tracer uptake was assessed in soft tissue and bone in both treatment groups with an additional comparison between the operated and unoperated limb. MicroPET analysis was combined with radiographic assessment and complementary histology of the tibiae. RESULTS: At the first postoperative week, the (18)F-FDG uptake in the contaminated implant group was significantly higher than the preoperative measurement, without a significant difference between the contaminated and uncontaminated tibiae. From the third postoperative week onward, (18)F-FDG uptake allowed discrimination between osteomyelitis and postoperative aseptic bone healing, as well as quantification of the infection at distinct locations around the implant. INTERPRETATION: (18)F-FDG-based microPET imaging allows differentiation between deep infection and undisturbed wound healing after implantation of a titanium intramedullary nail in this rabbit model. Furthermore, our results indicate that (18)F-FDG PET may provide a tool in human clinical diagnostics and for the evaluation of antimicrobial strategies in animal models of orthopedic implant infection.
- STAPHYLOCOCCUS-AUREUS OSTEOMYELITIS
- SMALL ANIMAL PET