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Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2005 Nov;31(4):699-714.

MRI and musculoskeletal ultrasonography as diagnostic tools in early arthritis.

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Academic Unit of Musculoskeletal Disease, Department of Rheumatology, Leeds General Infirmary, Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic and progressive inflammatory disorder primarily affecting the synovium and is characterized by destruction of bone and cartilage. Early diagnosis and treatment of RA can improve disease outcomes substantially. Magnetic resonance imaging and musculoskeletal ultrasonography may facilitate early diagnosis and aid the targeting of intensive therapy. Magnetic resonance imaging and musculoskeletal ultrasonography also are able to monitor temporal changes in disease activity (ie, synovitis) and damage (ie, erosions). These imaging modalities are likely to be increasingly used in the management of early rheumatoid arthritis to ensure the best patient outcomes, although more work is required to determine their optimal roles.

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