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Korean J Intern Med. 2019 May;34(3):651-659. doi: 10.3904/kjim.2016.271. Epub 2017 Nov 24.

Magnetic resonance imaging-assessed synovial and bone changes in hand and wrist joints of rheumatoid arthritis patients.

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Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Konkuk University Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Konkuk University Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Radiology, Konkuk University Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.



Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a sensitive and useful method for the detection of synovitis and joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. However, the patterns of MRI-detected bone erosion, bone marrow edema (BME), synovitis, and tenosynovitis have received insufficient attention. Therefore, this study evaluated the patterns of bone erosion, BME, synovitis, and tenosynovitis, and calculated the RA-MRI score (RAMRIS) of patients with RA at the carpal and metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints using MRI.


MRI datasets from 43 RA patients were analyzed. All patients had undergone MRI of one wrist. In addition, 36 patients had MCP joint images taken, and three had also received MRI of the contralateral wrist and MCP joints. The MR images were evaluated for bone erosion, BME, and synovitis in consensus by two blinded readers according to the Outcome Measures in Rheumatology Clinical Trials (OMERACT) RAMRIS. The MRI-detected tenosynovitis was evaluated based on Haavardsholm's tenosynovitis score.


The capitate, lunate, triquetrum, and hamate bones were the most common sites of erosion and BME and showed the highest RAMRIS erosion and BME scores. Moreover, MRI-detected tenosynovitis was present in 78.3% of all patients with RA, and the extensor compartment 4 and flexor digitorum profundus and superficialis were frequently affected.


This study identified the distribution and prevalence of MRI-detected bone erosion, BME, synovitis, and tenosynovitis of the wrist and MCP joints in RA patients. The patterns of the MRI-detected abnormalities may help to select sites for the application of MRI protocols in clinical trials and practice.


Arthritis, rheumatoid; Magnetic resonance imaging; Synovitis; Tenosynovitis

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