Archives of orthopaedic and trauma surgery vol:118 issue:3 pages:131-135
Positron emission tomography (PET) with 18F-fluoride was utilized to determine the regional blood flow to the femoral head in early osteonecrosis. Five patients with a history of unilateral hip trauma and a normal contralateral side were selected. Skeletal flow and fluoride uptake in the abnormal and normal hips were compared directly, and the relation between bone blood flow and final outcome, i.e., surgical replacement or conservative treatment, was evaluated. In this pilot study, a flow ratio of at least 2 between the abnormal and normal femoral head was necessary to predict a successful outcome with a conservative regimen. A minimum flow of 0.04 ml/min/ml was measured in one patient whose affected femoral head healed conservatively. Our preliminary study indicates that this type of highly technical investigation appears feasible in clinical practice and permits prediction of the outcome depending upon regional skeletal flow measurements in vivo.