Use of contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging to detect spinal inflammation in patients with spondyloarthritides
Clin Exp Rheumatol
Inflammation of spinal structures is a characteristic feature of the spondylo-arthritides (SpA). The term SpA covers patients with inflammatory back pain and/or peripheral arthritis who can be further categorized. Ankylosing spon-dylitis (AS), the prototype of the SpA, the most frequent inflammatory spinal disease in adults, usually starts in the s a c roiliac joints. Pat h o l ogic spinal changes occurring in AS are spondyl-itis, spondylodiscitis and inflammation and ankylosis also at other
... es in the axial skeleton. In the later stages of AS such changes can be well recognized by spinal x-rays. In the early disease stages it has been more difficult to analyze the exact anatomic localization of spinal inflammation to date, because c o nventional imaging systems have only a limited capacity to demonstrate such changes early. There is some evidence that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with fat saturation and contrast enhanced MRI are useful to visu-a l i ze early and late infl a m m at o ry changes in the sacroiliac joints. In this paper we report that MRI is also useful to localize the site of inflammation to distinct regions of the spine in AS and other SpA.