The imaging approach to osteomyelitis has evolved in the past two decades. Advances in MRI allow for whole body imaging, decreasing the need for scintigraphy when symptoms are not localized or the disease may be multifocal. There is an increasing clinical need for depiction of abscesses in the soft tissues and subperiosteal space, particularly because methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections constitute more than one-third of all the infections. The increasing emphasis on radiation dose reduction has also led away from scintigraphy and computed tomography. MR imaging has become the advanced imaging modality of choice in osteomyelitis. There is an increasing understanding of the appropriate role for gadolinium enhancement, which is not indicated when the pre-gadolinium images are normal. Other related infections, including pyomyositis, are best imaged with MRI.
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