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Osteomyelitis is a common complication in the diabetic foot that can conclude with amputation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) in the diagnosis of osteomyelitis in diabetic foot ulcer (DFU).
Thirty patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and a DFU were enrolled. Both DWIs and conventional MRIs were obtained. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) measurements were made by transferring the images to a workstation. The measurements were made both from bone with osteomyelitis, or nearest to the injured area if osteomyelitis is not available, and from the adjacent soft tissue.
The patients comprised nine women (30%) and 21 men (70%) with a mean age of 58.7 years (range, 41–78 years). The levels of ADC were significantly low (P = .022) and the erythrocyte sedimentation rates were significantly high (P = .014) in patients with osteomyelitis (n = 9) compared with patients without osteomyelitis (n = 21). The mean ± SD bone ADC value (0.75 ± 0.16 × 10–3 mm2/sec) was significantly lower than the adjacent soft-tissue ADC value (0.90 ± 0.15 × 10–3 mm2/sec) in patients with osteomyelitis (P = .04).
It is suggested that DWI contributes to conventional MRI with short imaging time and no requirement for contrast agent. Therefore, DWI may be an alternative diagnostic method for the evaluation of DFU and the detection of osteomyelitis.