Magnetic resonance imaging in patients with inflammatory arthritis of the knee
- Cite this article as:
- Brown, D.G., Edwards, N.L., Greer, J.M. et al. Clin Rheumatol (1990) 9: 73. doi:10.1007/BF02030246
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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) permits visualization of anatomic structures not appreciated by conventional radiographic imaging and may quantify inflammatory disease and its progression with greater sensitivity than available techniques. We therefore compared MRIwith clinical evaluation and with radiographic examination of 17 patients with inflammatory arthritis of the knee. We sought to determine anatomic integrity of bone, cartilage, menisci, and ligaments, and to quantify joint effusion and synovial proliferation. Patients studied had rheumatoid arthritis (10patients), juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (4patients), ankylosing spondylitis (1 patient), and monoarticular arthritis (2 patients). In all patients MRI revealed clinically important abnormalities not detected by physical or conventional radiographic exams. These included proliferative synovitis (13 patients), cartilage thinning (2 patients), cartilage erosion (8 patients), bone infarction (1 patient), meniscal injury (1 patient), and synovial invagination into bone (1 patient). Also MRI indicated inflammatory disease to be quantitatively greater than had been appreciated on clinical examination or routine X-ray studies-proliferative synovitis (12 patients), erosion (7 patients), effusion (8 patients), cartilage thinning (11 patients), and ligamentous/meniscal damage (1 patient). These findings led to reassessment of anatomic staging and influenced therapeutic decision for these patients. Thus MRI provides clinically important information about joint integrity and inflammatory disease, with a sensitivity and resolution considerably beyond conventional techniques.