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Höpfner, Stefan; Krolak, Christoph; Kessler, Stefan; Tiling, Reinhold; Brinkbäumer, Kirsten; Hahn, Klaus and Dresel, Stefan (2004): Preoperative Imaging of Charcot Neuroarthropathy in Diabetic Patients: Comparison of Ring PET, Hybrid PET, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging. In: Foot & Ankle International, Vol. 25, No. 12: pp. 890-895 [PDF, 681kB]


Introduction: The treatment of Charcot neuroarthropathy in the feet of diabetic patients has undergone fundamental changes in the last few years. Formerly, treatment was almost exclusively limited to nonoperative measures; since the late 1990s, however, current practice has shifted to early, stage-appropriate surgical therapy. The objective of this prospective study was to investigate the value of two types of positron emission tomography (PET) in the preoperative evaluation of diabetic patients with Charcot foot deformities. Materials and Methods: Ring 18FFDG (2-fluoro-2-deoxy-glucose) and hybrid PET were compared to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI, ring PET, and hybrid PET imaging were used as part of the preoperative evaluation of 16 patients with type II diabetes mellitus. The diagnosis of Charcot neuropathy of the foot requiring operative treatment had been made on the basis of clinical and radiographic criteria. Results: Of 39 Charcot lesions confirmed at surgery, 37 were detected by ring PET, 30 by hybrid PET, and 31 by MRI. Conclusions: PET (ring or hybrid) can be used in the evaluation of patients with metal implants that would compromise the accuracy of MRI. Another advantage of PET is its ability to distinguish between inflammatory and infectious soft-tissue lesions, and between osteomyelitis and Charcot neuroarthropathy. The differentiation between Charcot neuroarthropathy and florid osteomyelitis provides the surgeon with important additional information that often is unavailable from MRI. Because it provides important additional data, ring PET may be preferable to radiography and MRI in the preoperative evaluation of patients with Charcot neuroarthropathy of the foot. Hybrid PET, because of its poorer resolution compared to ring PET, appears less suitable for routine clinical application.

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