Imaging to Differentiate the Various Forms of Seronegative Arthritis

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Spondyloarthritis (SpA) is a group of diseases characterized by back pain, spinal inflammation, human leukocyte antigen-B27 positivity, and peripheral findings such as dactylitis, enthesitis, and uveitis. It includes ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel disease, and undifferentiated SpA. The role of imaging in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with SpA has become dramatically more important with the introduction of new therapies such as tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors. Although in many instances differentiating between the SpA entities is straightforward based on the clinical presentation, often such differentiation remains challenging, and categorization of an individual patient into a subset of SpA can be difficult. Imaging, mainly radiography and magnetic resonance imaging, serves as an important diagnostic tool. Diseases in the spondyloarthritis complex share common presentation but at the same time may have distinct radiographic phenotypes. We present these common and distinct imaging manifestations that may potentially help distinguish between the entities in the diagnostic work-up.

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