Single-photon emission computed tomography combined with computed tomography (SPECT/CT) in bone diseases

Joint Bone Spine. 2009 Oct;76(5):474-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jbspin.2009.01.016. Epub 2009 Oct 2.


Radionuclide bone scanning was proven effective many years ago. Its main advantages are good sensitivity, limited radiation exposure, and noninvasiveness. However, increased radionuclide uptake by a lesion is not specific, and differentiating malignant from nonmalignant disorders may therefore be difficult. An additional structural imaging study is often needed to establish the final diagnosis. Furthermore, the limited resolution of radionuclide bone scanning images does not allow accurate localization of the lesions. Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) combined with computed tomography (CT) provides both structural and functional information. SPECT/CT has been proven useful for interpreting radionuclide bone scan results in patients with bone malignancies, showing far better specificity than planar imaging or SPECT alone, most notably in the evaluation of spinal abnormalities. SPECT/CT provides an accurate evaluation of the site of the lesions and also supplies other information that can be useful in nonmalignant conditions such as injuries, infections, and degenerative disease. Nevertheless, there are only a few published studies on the usefulness of SPECT/CT in nonmalignant conditions. However, SPECT/CT is only starting to become available and may become a routine investigation for a number of rheumatic disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bone Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnostic imaging
  • Radioisotopes
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Radioisotopes