Background: This study attempted to compare the radiopharmaceutical uptake findings of planar bone scintigraphy (BS) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)/computed tomography (CT) performed on knee joints. Methods: We retrospectively included 104 patients who underwent bone SPECT/CT and BS 4 h after the intravenous administration of technetium-99m-hydroxymethylene diphosphonate (99mTc-HDP) for pain in the knee joint. The uptake degree of each of the knee regions (medial femoral, lateral femoral, medial tibial, lateral tibial, and patellar area) in planar images and SPECT/CT were evaluated by visual (grades 0 to 2) and quantitative analyses (uptake counts for planar image and standardized uptake values [SUVs] for SPECT/CT). Results: The uptake grades assessed visually on the planar images differed significantly from the uptake grades on SPECT/CT images in all areas of the knee (all p < 0.001), and SPECT/CT imaging revealed a larger number of uptake lesions than those noted in planar imaging for each patient (3.3 ± 2.0 vs 2.4 ± 2.3, p < 0.0001). In all regions of the knee, all of the quantitative values, including uptake counts obtained from the planar image as well as the maximum SUV (SUVmax) and mean SUV (SUVmean) obtained from SPECT/CT, showed statistically higher values as their visual grades increased (all p < 0.001). However, when analyzed for each area, only the SUVmax showed a significant difference by grade in all knee regions. Quantitative uptake values obtained from planar images were moderately correlated with SUVs of SPECT/CT images (r = 0.58 for SUVmean and r = 0.53 for SUVmax, all p < 0.001) in the total knee regions. Looking at each area, there was a significant but low correlation between the uptake counts of the planar images and the SUVs on SPECT/CT in the right lateral tibial region (r = 0.45 for SUVmean, r = 0.31 for SUVmax, all p < 0.001). Conclusions: In assessing knee joints, the findings of planar images and SPECT/CT images differ both visually and quantitatively, and more lesions can be found in SPECT/CT than in the planar images. The SUVmax could be a reliable value to evaluate knee joint uptake activity.
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