Prognostic value of focal scintigraphic findings in clinically suspected cases of tibial stress fracture

Abstract Objective: To investigate the correlation between tracer uptake on bone scintigraphy and recovery time in patients with tibial stress fracture. Materials and Methods: We evaluated two groups of athletes: those with clinical suspicion and a radiological diagnosis of tibial stress fracture (TSF group, n = 21); and those with no symptoms or evidence of fracture (control group, n = 10). All subjects underwent bone scintigraphy and magnetic resonance imaging with a maximum interval of 7 days between the assessments. Results: Using the region of interest technique, we obtained a quantitative evaluation index, comparing affected and unaffected legs. The mean uptake of 99mTc-MDP was significantly higher in the TSF group than in the control group (2.54 ± 0.77 vs. 1.05 ± 0.11; p < 0.001). Conclusion: In our sample of athletes, determining the bone scintigraphy uptake indices provided an objective method to estimate the appropriate recovery time after a tibial stress fracture.