Magnetic resonance imaging of the wrist in rheumatoid arthritis: demonstration of progression between 1 and 6 years

Skeletal Radiol. 2004 Dec;33(12):704-11. doi: 10.1007/s00256-004-0839-x. Epub 2004 Oct 15.


Objective: To describe the changes seen in the wrist in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging obtained at 1 year and 6 years.

Design: A cohort of patients with RA has been studied prospectively from symptom onset.

Patients: MR scans of the dominant wrist in 31 patients obtained at 1 year and 6 years were compared for bone erosions, marrow signal change (oedema), synovial thickness and tenosynovitis.

Results: Twenty-two patients had an increase in erosion score in the interval and three patients showed a decrease in erosion score suggesting erosion healing. Fourteen patients had an increase in oedema score in the interval and eight patients had a decrease in oedema score. Synovial thickness increased in 13 patients and decreased in eight. Tenosynovitis increased in 15 patients and decreased in five. Bone erosions developed immediately adjacent to the tenosynovitis in two patients.

Conclusions: MR imaging is useful in following the progress of bone erosions, marrow oedema, synovitis and tenosynovitis in RA.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / diagnosis*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Wrist Joint / physiopathology*