Percutaneous CT guided bone biopsy for suspected osteomyelitis: Diagnostic yield and impact on patient's treatment change and recovery

Diana Hoang, Stephen Fisher, Orhan K. Oz, Javier La Fontaine, Avneesh Chhabra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Aim: To evaluate the utility of percutaneous CT guided bone biopsy (PCBB) for suspected osteomyelitis (OM) and its eventual impact on patient management and recovery. Material and methods: Patients who received a PCBB for suspected osteomyelitis from years 2012-2018. Patient demographics, lesion location, ulcer grade, signs of toxemia, serology, wound and blood cultures, bone biopsy and cross-sectional imaging results were recorded. Diagnostic yield of the bone biopsy and its role in influencing the final treatment plan and patient recovery were evaluated. Chi-square test was used. P-value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: 115 patients with mean age 50.86 ± 14.49 years were included. The common locations were sacrum/ischium (49/115, 43%) and spine (35/115, 30%). Clinically, 40/115 (35%) had toxemia and 67/115 (58%) had ulcers. Per serology, 17/111 (15%), 95/106 (90%), and 86/98 (88%) had an elevated WBC, CRP, and sedimentation rate, respectively. 22/91 (24%) had a positive blood culture and all 23/23 had a positive wound culture. On imaging, definitive and possible OM were reported in 84.1% and 14.2%, respectively, with 1.8% as no OM. Only 24/115 (21%) had a positive bone biopsy culture and only 10/24 (42%) total positive bone cultures impacted the treatment plan. There was no significant effect of antibiotics on the diagnostic yield of culture (p = 0.08). No statistical significance was found when comparing treatment change based on bone culture results versus all other factors combined (p = 0.33), or when comparing clinical improvement with and without positive bone cultures (p = 0.12). Conclusion: Despite positive cross-sectional imaging findings of OM, bone biopsy yield of positive culture is low, and it leads to a small impact in changing the treatment plan or altering the course of patient recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-91
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Bone biopsy
  • Bone infection
  • CT
  • MRI
  • Osteomyelitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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