Results of a study presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging report that a molecular imaging scan together with a traditional bone scan can provide the information needed to better refine the selection of treatment for chronic low back pain. The hybrid molecular imaging technique, SPECT/CT, offers the capability to identify the physiological processes that cause inflammation, pain, and infection.
Traditional imaging techniques, such as X-ray, CT and MR are used to show the structure of the bone, in presentations of chronic low back pain, but the cause of the pain is not always directly associated with structural changes. The study compared treatment outcomes for two groups of patients, one of which received both bone scans and SPECT/CT, and the other receiving no imaging. Researchers found that patients who had 50 percent or more pain relief were much more likely to be in the former group. A news story about the study findings may be read here.