Nuclear Medicine Imaging of Soft Tissue Infections

  • Elena Lazzeri


Soft tissues infections frequently present with nonspecific signs and symptoms. The diagnosis and evaluation of extension of soft tissues infection may be tricky. Diagnostic imaging is mandatory to evaluate the extension of infection disease, the response to the antibiotic treatment, and the potential relapse of disease. Radiologic imaging is composed of ultrasound that is widely available and can be easily and early performed, Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance (MRI).

Radionuclide imaging is composed of diphosphonates dynamic bone scan (Dynamic BS), 67Ga-citrate scintigraphy, labelled leukocytes scintigraphy (WBC), and 18F-fluor-deoxyglucose ([18F]FDG-PET/CT). It is essential that the choice of diagnostic procedure(s) is optimized for the clinical situation of the patient since every diagnostic test is not equally accurate in all clinical situations. CT and MRI can be performed in patients with large, deep, and severe infections. WBC, with SPECT/CT acquisition, represents the gold standard imaging technique for the diagnosis of soft tissues infections when a correct images acquisition and interpretation criteria were performed. [18F]FDG-PET/CT can provide functional information and considered complementary to CT or MRI in the diagnosis of soft tissues infection. It can also provide an objective quantitative index, essential for the evaluation of treatment response in the follow-up of patients.


Soft tissues Infection CT MRI Labelled leukocytes scintigraphy FDG-PET/CT 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena Lazzeri
    • 1
  1. 1.Regional Center of Nuclear MedicinePisa University HospitalPisaItaly

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