Clinical applications of SPECT/CT in imaging the extremities

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2014 May:41 Suppl 1:S50-8. doi: 10.1007/s00259-013-2533-5. Epub 2013 Aug 21.


Today, SPECT/CT is increasingly used and available in the majority of larger nuclear medicine departments. Several applications of SPECT/CT as a supplement to or replacement for traditional conventional bone scintigraphy have been established in recent years. SPECT/CT of the upper and lower extremities is valuable in many conditions with abnormal bone turnover due to trauma, inflammation, infection, degeneration or tumour. SPECT/CT is often used in patients if conventional radiographs are insufficient, if MR image quality is impaired due to metal implants or in patients with contraindications to MR. In complex joints such as those in the foot and wrist, SPECT/CT provides exact anatomical correlation of pathological uptake. In many cases SPECT increases the sensitivity and CT the specificity of the study, increasing confidence in the final diagnosis compared to planar images alone. The CT protocol should be adapted to the clinical question and may vary from very low-dose (e.g. attenuation correction only), to low-dose for anatomical correlation, to normal-dose protocols enabling precise anatomical resolution. The aim of this review is to give an overview of SPECT/CT imaging of the extremities with a focus on the hand and wrist, knee and foot, and for evaluation of patients after joint arthroplasty.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement
  • Extremities / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Joint Diseases / surgery
  • Multimodal Imaging*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*