CT-guided discitis-osteomyelitis biopsies with negative microbiology: how many days should we wait before repeating the biopsy?

Kaitlyn J Yeh, Jad S Husseini, Robert Hemke, Sandra B Nelson, Connie Y Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


PURPOSE: To determine the number of days to positive CT-guided biopsy sample culture in patients with discitis-osteomyelitis.

METHODS: Our study was IRB approved and HIPAA compliant. All CT-guided biopsies performed for acute discitis-osteomyelitis with positive microbiology between 2002 and 2018 were reviewed. Microbiological organism and days to positive biopsy were documented. Mean, median, skew, and standard deviation were calculated. The proportion of positive cultures that become positive after each day has elapsed was also calculated.

RESULTS: There were 96 true positive cultures, with 64 (67%) male and 32 (33%) female, ages 57 ± 18 (range 19-87) years. Overall, including all culture results, the mean number of days to positive culture was 2.9 ± 3.5 days. The median number of days was 2, with a positive skew of 2.9. At days 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, 48%, 68%, 78%, 85%, and 89%, respectively, of biopsy samples had a positive microbiology culture.

CONCLUSION: Approximately three-quarters of discitis-osteomyelitis pathogens will be identified by biopsy sample culture by 3 days after CT-guided biopsy. This finding should be considered if planning for a repeat biopsy in the setting of a negative microbiology culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-623
Number of pages5
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

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