Objective: To appraise the value of FDG-PET and bone scintigraphy using SPECT in the primary diagnosis and follow-up of patients with chronic osteomyelitis of the mandible (COM).
Methods: In a prospective study the pattern of tracer uptake was investigated using 2 diagnostic methods in 42 patients. Results were compared with histology and radiographs as well as clinical and laboratory parameters.
Results: The use of FDG-PET in the primary diagnosis of COM resulted in a sensitivity of 64% and a specificity of 77.7%. The sensitivity of SPECT was 84% and the specificity 33.3%. During the follow-up period of these patients the sensitivity of SPECT increased to 93.7%, while the specificity decreased (6.6%). The sensitivity and specificity of FDG-PET for this follow-up group were 62.5 and 80%, respectively.
Conclusion: Because of its high sensitivity, SPECT is vastly superior to other diagnostic methods in initiating treatment. In the follow-up period it might be replaced by FDG-PET, which reflects the disease course better and indicates the time of clinical remission.