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Wenter, Vera; Albert, Nathalie L.; Brendel, Matthias; Fendler, Wolfgang P.; Cyran, Clemens C.; Bartenstein, Peter; Friederichs, Jan; Müller, Jan-Philipp; Militz, Matthias; Hacker, Marcus; Hungerer, Sven (2017): [¹⁸F]FDG PET accurately differentiates infected and non-infected non-unions after fracture fixation. In: European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Vol. 44, No. 3: pp. 432-440
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Purpose Complete fracture healing is crucial for good patient outcomes. A major complication in the treatment of fractures is non-union. The pathogenesis of non-unions is not always clear, although implant-associated infections play a significant role, especially after surgical treatment of open fractures. We aimed to evaluate the value of [F-18] FDG PET in suspected infections of non-union fractures. Methods We retrospectively evaluated 35 consecutive patients seen between 2000 and 2015 with suspected infection of non-union fractures, treated at a level I trauma center. The patients underwent either [F-18] FDG PET/CT (N = 24), [F-18] FDG PET (N = 11) plus additional CT (N = 8), or conventional X-ray (N = 3). Imaging findings were correlated with final diagnosis based on intraoperative culture or follow-up. Results In 13 of 35 patients (37 %), infection was proven by either positive intraoperative tissue culture (N = 12) or positive follow-up (N = 1). [F-18] FDG PET revealed 11 true-positive, 19 true-negative, three false-positive, and two false-negative results, indicating sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and accuracy of 85 %, 86 %, 79 %, 90 %, and 86 %, respectively. The SUVmax was 6.4 +/- 2.7 in the clinically infected group and 3.0 +/- 1.7 in the clinically non-infected group (p < 0.01). The SUVratio was 5.3 +/- 3.3 in the clinically infected group and 2.6 +/- 1.5 in the clinically non-infected group (p < 0.01). Conclusion [F-18] FDG PET differentiates infected from noninfected non-unions with high accuracy in patients with suspected infections of non-union fractures, for whom other clinical findings were inconclusive for a local infection. [F-18] FDG PET should be considered for therapeutic management of non-unions.