Objective: Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone marrow. MRI with gadolinium-based contrast is frequently performed for cases of suspected osteomyelitis. The objective of this systematic review is to examine the diagnostic accuracy of contrast-enhanced vs non-contrast–enhanced MRI for osteomyelitis in the appendicular skeleton. Materials and methods: We conducted a systematic review of MRI in the diagnosis of osteomyelitis by searching MEDLINE and EMBASE from January 2000 to March 2020. There were 21 studies that met the inclusion criteria for the systematic review for a total of 1095 patients. Analytic methods were based on Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Evidence was evaluated using the STARD criteria for evaluation of completeness and transparency of reporting. Results: For diagnosing osteomyelitis in the appendicular skeleton, MRI with gadolinium-based contrast has 89% sensitivity (95% CI, 86–92%), 79% specificity (95% CI, 75–83%), and 90% overall diagnostic accuracy ([SE] = 0.03). For diagnosing osteomyelitis in the appendicular skeleton, MRI without gadolinium-based contrast has a 92% sensitivity (95% CI, 87–96%), 89% specificity (95% CI, 84–93%), and 96% overall diagnostic accuracy ([SE] = 0.03). The median score of included studies was 85% utilizing the STARD criteria with excellent interobserver agreement of 83.4%. Limitations included small sample size of studies, with retrospective designs. Conclusion: No evidence was found to suggest an added diagnostic value of gadolinium contrast for the diagnosis of osteomyelitis in the appendicular skeleton. For routine cases of suspected non-spinal osteomyelitis, non-contrast MRI of the area of interest is the next most appropriate study after radiographs.
- Systematic review
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging