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Br J Rheumatol. 1998 Nov;37(11):1152-6.

Evaluation of humeral head erosions in rheumatoid arthritis: a comparison of ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography and plain radiography.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Oulu, Finland.


The value of ultrasonography (US), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and plain radiography (PR) in detecting bone erosions on the humeral head was evaluated in a study of 26 in-patients (26 shoulders) with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). MRI depicted humeral erosions in 25 (96%), US in 24 (92%), CT in 20 (77%) and PR in 19 (73%) of the 26 shoulders. MRI and US were superior to CT in detecting small erosions. US was the most sensitive method to show surface erosions on the greater tuberosity. US, CT and MRI detected large erosions quite similarly. PR frequently missed small erosions. In the evaluation of early erosions in the rheumatoid shoulder, US and MRI are more sensitive methods than the traditionally used PR. US and MRI are suitable for the evaluation of soft-tissue involvement in the rheumatoid shoulder, but also for the detection of bone erosions of the humeral head.

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