Imaging in early arthritis

Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2004 Dec;18(6):927-43. doi: 10.1016/j.berh.2004.07.002.


Imaging can play a vital role in the evaluation of patients with early arthritis. Various imaging methods can be utilized to aid with diagnosis, predict prognosis and follow disease progression and treatment response. Previously, conventional radiography was the principal method used to evaluate and follow bone damage in patients with inflammatory arthritis. More recently the use of magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasonography has gained wider acceptance and popularity due to the ability of these multiplanar techniques to image both bone changes and soft tissue abnormalities, including synovitis. This chapter discusses the current imaging modalities used in the evaluation of patients with early arthritis, as well as the use of imaging in establishing the extent of disease, in prognosis and in monitoring disease course. Current data on imaging of patients with early arthritis due to rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis is reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis, Psoriatic / physiopathology
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Rheumatology / methods
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / diagnosis*
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / physiopathology
  • Time Factors