Purpose of review: The past 18 months has seen considerable advances in the use of MRI for assessment of ankylosing spondylitis, to quantify active inflammation in the spine and sacroiliac joints which may not otherwise be detectable and to therefore measure change due to therapeutic interventions.
Recent findings: Characterization of the extension and morphology of inflammation in ankylosing spondylitis is now possible with MRI techniques. A number of randomized controlled trials of anti-tumour necrosis factor agents in ankylosing spondylitis have now been published showing regression of inflammatory lesions in the spine by MRI. Furthermore, the role of MRI for the early diagnosis of spondyloarthritis has become clearer. This review discusses the techniques used, the capabilities and the shortcomings of MRI in assessing ankylosing spondylitis patients.
Summary: MRI techniques have implications for early identification and intervention in patients with ankylosing spondylitis.