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Magnetic resonance imaging of the craniocervical junction in rheumatoid arthritis: value, limitations, indications


The cervical spine is the second most common location for manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Symptoms are typically related to involvement of the craniocervical junction. Unfortunately, conventional radiographic examination is often unable to demonstrate that RA is the cause of such symptoms. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides an unique opportunity to visualize nerves, connective tissue, and bone in all planes without the use of contrast agents. These features suggest that MRI could provide important information related to RA of the cervical spine. The possibilities and limitations of MRI were therefore evaluated in 60 patients with cervical RA. The main objective of this study was to correlate symptoms and clinical findings with MRI results to establish indications for this imaging procedure.

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Correspondence to M. Einig M.D..

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Einig, M., Higer, H.P., Meairs, S. et al. Magnetic resonance imaging of the craniocervical junction in rheumatoid arthritis: value, limitations, indications. Skeletal Radiol. 19, 341–346 (1990).

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Key words

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • MRI
  • Cervical spine
  • Atlantoaxial subluxation
  • Compression