Fast Five Quiz: Psoriatic Arthritis Imaging

Herbert S. Diamond, MD


February 27, 2020

Figure 1. Psoriatic arthritis in hand, lateral view x-ray

Plain radiography is the cornerstone for diagnosing and assessing psoriatic arthritis. The reproducibility of radiographic findings allows for sequential monitoring of patients to assess disease progression.

MRI is a more sensitive imaging technology; however, due to its higher cost and lack of widespread availability, it is considered a second-line option for monitoring patients with psoriatic arthritis. At this time, MRI is chiefly used in cases where inflammation is suspected and when radiographs are not helpful, and it also can be used as an adjunct to determine treatment modifications.

Although not the traditional imaging modality for psoriatic arthritis, ultrasound is playing an increasing role in diagnosing and monitoring the disease. It can be helpful in the differential diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis and can also be used to calculate inflammation in joints and tendons if there is uncertainty upon clinical examination.

CT scan may be utilized to provide further information about the extent and severity of disease. This is particularly true in areas that are difficult to evaluate with radiographs, such as the sacroiliac joint, the temporomandibular joint, and the sternum/manubrium. 

Learn more about the use of imaging modalities in psoriatic arthritis.


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