Osteitis pubis

Osteitis pubis (OP) is characterised by non-infectious inflammation of the pubic symphysis

Presentation is typically with varying degrees of lower abdominal and pelvic pain. 

Although the aetiology is sometimes unknown, the most common causes are:

Plain radiograph and CT

The x-ray and CT findings are subchondral erosive change, joint irregularity and sclerosis, which may eventually lead to ankylosis. Positive findings usually are not apparent until 4 weeks after the onset of symptoms


MRI may demonstrate parasymphyseal bone marrow oedema although this finding may also be seen in asymptomatic individuals. Symphyseal fluid and peripubic soft-tissue oedema during initial stages may also bee seen 1.

Subchondral sclerosis, subchondral resorption and bony margin irregularities, and osteophytes may be seen with the chronicity of disease 4.

Nuclear medicine

Bone scans may be negative but can demonstrate intense signal uptake at the pubis symphysis.

Treatment is symptomatic and mainly relies upon rest. 

The main differential diagnoses are infection and hyperparathyroidism, the latter due to bone resorption. On MRI, the initial stages of osteitis pubis may mimic osteomyelitis 1.

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Article Information

rID: 1793
Section: Pathology
Tag: pelvis
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Osteitis pubis (OP)

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Cases and Figures

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    Case 5: in ankylosing spondylitis
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