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Joint replacements may fail due to infection, dislocation, peri-prosthetic fracture and loosening. Between 0.4 and 4% of joint replacements are known to be complicated by infection and aseptic loosening 2-18%. Differentiating between infection and aseptic loosening has an important bearing on the ongoing strategy for antimicrobial therapy and surgical intervention, but distinguishing one from the other can be difficult and will often require a battery of clinical and biochemical tests including the use of varying radiological modalities to accurately identify whether problematic joints are infected or aseptically loose. Prompt diagnosis is important due to the development of a biofilm on the surface of the infected prosthesis, which makes treatment difficult. There is no consensus among experts on the ideal imaging technique nor the methodology for image interpretation, but there is an increasing trend to apply hybrid imaging in the investigation of painful joint prosthesis and recent attempts have been made using PET-CT to identify aseptic loosening and infection with (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and sodium fluoride (18)F-Na. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the role of (18)F-NaF sodium fluoride ((18)F-NaF) positron emission tomography (PET) in distinguishing between septic and aseptic failure in hip and knee replacements, in addition to evaluating the feasibility of using multi-sequential (18)F-NaF PET-CT for the assessment of painful lower limb prostheses.

Original publication




Journal article


J orthop surg res

Publication Date





Diagnosis, Differential, Fluorine Radioisotopes, Hip Prosthesis, Humans, Prospective Studies, Prosthesis Failure, Prosthesis-Related Infections, Radionuclide Imaging, Sodium Fluoride