Whole-body fluorine 18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron-emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) is performed primarily for oncologic indications; however, FDG uptake is not specific for malignancy. Herein we focus on causes of increased FDG uptake in and around joints, as lesions in these locations are commonly benign. A combination of primary intra-articular processes and osseous processes that may occur near the joint space will be discussed. Causes of intra-articular and periarticular increased FDG activity can be broadly divided into infectious, inflammatory, degenerative, and benign neoplastic categories. A familiarity with the full range of these processes is important to avoid misinterpretation, in turn decreasing unnecessary follow-up studies, procedures, and treatments. Differentiation from malignancy is often possible on the basis of a different level of FDG activity, divergent response to therapy, or differing changes over time, in comparison with a patient’s known primary cancer. Recognizing an intra-articular lesion location can also be critical, as intra-articular metastases are rare. In some cases, benign FDG-avid articular and periarticular entities have a specific appearance at FDG PET/ CT and a correct diagnosis may be made without any additional workup. In most other cases, comparison with prior studies and/or additional imaging can afford an accurate diagnosis. This review is meant to introduce the reader to a spectrum of benign FDG-avid articular and periarticular processes that may be encountered at oncologic FDG PET/CT to increase confidence and diagnostic accuracy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging