Advances in musculoskeletal imaging and their clinical utility in the early diagnosis of spondyloarthritis

Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2007 Oct;9(5):353-60. doi: 10.1007/s11926-007-0057-3.


Interest in imaging ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and related spondyloarthropathies has increased in recent years. MRI is regarded as the most sensitive imaging modality to detect early inflammatory lesions in the sacroiliac joints and in the spine. Standard radiography plays a major role in evaluating potential disease-modifying properties of the recently introduced, symptomatically effective anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha agents. Various radiographic scoring methods have been developed to assess and monitor spinal structural damage in AS. The modified stoke ankylosing spondylitis spine score is the method of choice based on its sensitivity to change. MRI is emerging as a useful tool to detect AS early, but this remains a challenge. Recent progress in MR technology with the advent of whole body MRI has expanded the potential role of imaging in AS. Further data are needed before MRI can replace radiographs for earlier diagnosis of AS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / trends
  • Radiography
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spine* / diagnostic imaging
  • Spine* / pathology
  • Spondylarthritis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Spondylarthritis* / pathology