The detection and localization of inflammation and infection with nuclear medicine techniques has been studied for nearly half a century. The most commonly performed procedures are bone (for osteomyelitis),67Ga citrate, and in vitro labeled leukocyte imaging. PET imaging with 18F-FDG also has proved to be useful, and its role in imaging inflammation and infection will undoubtedly increase in the future. Radiotracers, regardless of whether they are single photon or positron-emitting agents, primarily reflect function; only gross anatomic details can be inferred from radionuclide images. The fine anatomic detail that can be critical to differentiating physiologic from pathologic processes often is lacking. Integrating radionuclide and anatomic images can significantly improve diagnostic confidence and test accuracy.
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