Designing a New Molecular Probe: The Potential Role for Tilmanocept (Lymphoseek®) in the Assessment of Patients with Painful Hip and Knee Joint Prostheses

The Open Orthopaedics Journal 22 Mar 2017 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874325001711010212



There is a long history of nuclear medicine developments in orthopaedics beginning in the early 20th century. Technetium-99m (99mTc) has a short half-life of six hours, emits 140 keV gamma rays and is the most widely used isotope, imaged with the Anger (gamma) camera. Gamma image quality and test sensitivity in painful prosthetic joints can be improved with single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and SPECT/CT. Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) with Sodium Fluoride (18F-NaF) and 18Fluorine-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) PET have promising and limited roles respectively in the investigation of painful prosthetic joints. New SPECT/CT and PET-CT isotopes targeting activated macrophages with 99mTc Tilmanocept (Lymphoseek®) and 68Gallium labelled Tilmanocept respectively show potential as agents to demonstrate wear particles ingested by macrophages and multinucleated giant cells. An imaging algorithm using SPECT and/or PET agents is proffered as a cost effective way of speedily and accurately arriving a diagnosis.


Review of the historical role of nuclear medicine in orthopaedics and research into the potential role of new radiopharmaceutical agents was undertaken. Guidelines and algorithms for the imaging of complicated joint prosthesis are provided.


There is an established role for nuclear medicine in orthopaedics and particularly in the investigation of complicated joint prostheses. Imaging with Tilmanocept provides new opportunities to shorten the time to diagnose loosened and infected joint prostheses.


There is a potential new role for Tilmanocept, which can be utilised with both PET-CT and SPECT-CT technologies. Tilmanocept is a relatively new radiopharmaceutical which has a potential role in the imaging assessment of painful joint prosthesis.

Keywords: Joint prosthesis, Septic loosening, Aseptic loosening, Galium-68 Tilmanocept, PET-CT, SPECT-CT.
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