Imaging of the seronegative spondyloarthropathies

Current Rheumatology Reports
A A Luong, D C Salonen


The group of seronegative spondyloarthropathies consists of ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, Reiter's disease, enteropathic spondylitis, and a fifth entity known as undifferentiated spondyloarthropathy. All of these diseases share common clinical and radiographic features with characteristic involvement of the sacroiliac joints, spine, and to various degrees, the peripheral joints. Although plain radiographs are the first line of imaging investigation, they are often insensitive for demonstrating the early changes of sacroiliitis, an important feature for establishing the early diagnosis of seronegative spondyloarthropathy. Other imaging modalities, including conventional tomography, bone scintigraphy, and computed tomography, have improved visualization of inflammatory changes at the sacroiliac joints. This article will review these modalities and emphasize the role of magnetic resonance imaging. By directly imaging changes in the synovium, articular cartilage, and subchondral bone, findings on magnetic resonance imaging are the most sensitive and specific for sacroiliitis and other changes in the axial skeleton. Its role and that of ultrasound in the assessment of the peripheral joints will also be highlighted.


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