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Radiographics. 2016 Oct;36(6):1849-1870.

Adult Inflammatory Arthritides: What the Radiologist Should Know.

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From the Radiology Service, VA San Diego Healthcare System, 3350 La Jolla Village Dr, MC 114, San Diego, CA 92161 (E.Y.C., K.C.C.); and the Department of Radiology (E.Y.C., K.C.C., B.K.H.) and Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Department of Medicine (A.K.), University of California, San Diego Medical Center, San Diego, Calif.


Developments and improvements in knowledge are rapid and ongoing in both the radiologic and rheumatologic fields. During the past decade, the roles of imaging and the radiologist in the assessment and management of many inflammatory rheumatologic diseases have undergone several changes. To remain effective in patient care, the radiologist needs to be aware of these changes when recommending and interpreting imaging examinations for the referring physician. The goal of contemporary rheumatoid arthritis (RA) management is to redefine RA as a disease that is no longer characterized by erosions, which reflect established or long-standing untreated disease. Most cases of RA are now diagnosed clinically, but imaging increases diagnostic confidence, is superior to clinical examination for the detection of joint inflammation, and plays an important role in patient management. The concept of the seronegative spondyloarthritides has recently been redefined by the Assessment of SpondyloArthritis International Society (ASAS). This new set of ASAS classification criteria divides the spectrum of spondyloarthritis on the basis of predominantly axial skeletal clinical manifestations or predominantly peripheral skeletal clinical manifestations. For axial spondyloarthritis, magnetic resonance imaging and radiography play crucial roles for classification and diagnosis. For both peripheral spondyloarthritis and psoriatic arthritis, the radiologist can provide important information that influences classification and diagnosis, including documenting radiologic evidence of juxta-articular new bone formation, diagnosing sacroiliitis, or delineating the presence and extent of enthesitis and dactylitis. The radiologist's familiarity with recent classification criteria, in addition to the traditional diagnostic characteristics of the individual inflammatory arthritides, maximizes the productive interface between the radiologist and the rheumatologist. ©RSNA, 2016.

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