European Journal of Rheumatology
Original Article

Clinical utility of bone scintigraphy in patients with limb pain of suspected musculoskeletal origin


Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Eur J Rheumatol 2015; 2: 16-19
DOI: 10.5152/eurjrheumatol.2015.0092
Read: 590 Downloads: 143 Published: 03 September 2019


Objective: To determine the clinical utility of bone scintigraphy in patients with limb pain of suspected musculoskeletal origin.


Material and Methods: All patients aged ≥18 years who were referred for diagnosis and management of limb pain were diagnosed on the basis of history, physical examination, and investigations excluding bone scintigraphy. After the presumptive diagnosis was made (the pre-test diagnosis), all subjects underwent bone scintigraphy, or if they had a previous bone scintigram for their pain condition, the results of that scintigram were reviewed. Then, the pre-test diagnosis was reviewed in light of the bone scintigraphy findings and repeat clinical assessment as needed. The post-test diagnosis was considered either as unchanged diagnosis or changed diagnosis for the region or regions of interest.


Results: There were 118 females (54.8%) and 97 males (45.2%). The mean age of the entire group was 36±8.1 years (range: 18-87 years). The mean duration of the symptoms was 17.4±11.2 months (range: 1-264 months). Of the 215 subjects, 212 had a bone scintigram. Of these 212 subjects, none had a changed diagnosis.


Conclusion: In the evaluation of limb pain of suspected musculoskeletal origin, scintigraphy is unlikely to alter the pre-test diagnosis or affect treatment decisions after history, physical examination, and non-scintigraphic investigations. The clinical utility of scinitigraphy in this setting is low.


ISSN2147-9720 EISSN 2148-4279