SPECT/CT imaging of metal hip arthroplasty

Author(s): Laura Perry, Dr Amy Eccles

Hospital: Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Reference: RAD Magazine, 40, 473, 15-16


The application of SPECT/CT (single photon emission computed tomography combined with simultaneous x-ray computed tomography) imaging in patients with painful hip arthroplasty has been gaining momentum over the past few years. This is reflected by the growing number of papers published in the area. Many of these papers focus on the use of SPECT/CT to identify post-surgical complications in the artificial joint. With an increasing elderly population the number of hip replacement operations and SPECT/CT studies to investigate complications looks set to rise.

Currently, across England and Wales, approximately 80,000 hip replacements are performed each year. During surgery damaged bone within the joint is removed and replaced with artificial components with the aim of restoring patient mobility and reducing pain. Hip replacement systems consist of a cup, fitted into the acetabulum, and either a replacement femur head or femur cup which is anchored into the femur with a stem. Multiple models of replacement hips exist with components made from polyethylene, ceramic or metal. For replacement hips where both components are made of metal the term metal-on-metal (MoM) is used. It is estimated that over 60,000 patients have received MoM implants in the UK.

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