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Magnetic resonance imaging 

Magnetic resonance imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging
Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology (4 ed.)

S. Balamoody

, Helena Marzo-Ortega

, and Philip J. O’Connor


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a highly valuable tool in the assessment of the musculoskeletal disorders, complementing other modalities such as plain radiography and ultrasound. This chapter provides an overview of the different utilities of MRI, both in the clinical management of rheumatic conditions and in the setting of a research study. A simplified description of the major principles of MRI is provided for the rheumatologist. The features of the major arthritides are discussed, including a description of how MRI has helped to increase understanding of the pathogenesis of these diseases. New concepts for disease classification are now being defined to include MRI criteria in conditions such as spondyloarthropathy. There is increasing scope for the role of MRI in detecting early arthritis, the assessment of undifferentiated arthritis, and as a biomarker for disease incidence and progression within the research setting. Ongoing technological advances in MRI, including functional and whole-body MRI, will no doubt further our understanding of arthritis and play an increasing role in guiding the management of rheumatological conditions.

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