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Anatomic Distribution of Sacroiliac Joint Lesions on Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Patients With Axial Spondyloarthritis and Control Subjects: A Prospective Cross-Sectional Study, Including Postpartum Women, Patients With Disc Herniation, Cleaning Staff, Runners, and Healthy Individuals

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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the anatomic location and distribution of lesions on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the sacroiliac (SI) joints in patients with axial spondyloarthritis (SpA), women with and without postpartum pain (childbirth within 4-16 months), patients with disc herniation, cleaning staff, runners, and healthy persons.

METHODS: In a prospective cross-sectional study of 204 participants, MRI of the entire cartilaginous compartment of the SI joint was scored blindly by 2 independent, experienced readers, according to Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada definitions of SI joint inflammation and structural lesions in each SI joint quadrant or half and in each of 9 slices. The locations of the lesions (unilateral/bilateral, upper/lower, sacral/iliac, and anterior/central/posterior slices) were analyzed based on concordant reads.

RESULTS: Bone marrow edema (BME) occurred in all quadrants in nearly all participant groups, but rarely bilaterally, except in patients with axial SpA and women with postpartum pain. Fat lesions were mainly found in axial SpA and occurred in all quadrants, but mostly bilaterally in sacral quadrants. Erosion was rare, except in axial SpA, where it was mainly iliac and often bilateral. Sclerosis was exclusively iliac and most frequent in women with postpartum pain.

CONCLUSION: The location and distribution of common SI joint lesions in axial SpA and non-axial SpA were reported, and group-specific patterns were revealed. BME distributed bilaterally or unilaterally, both locally and more widespread in the SI joint, is common in both postpartum women with pain and axial SpA patients, which limits the use of BME to differentiate these groups. This study indicates that the presence of fat lesions, especially when widespread, and/or erosion, particularly when located centrally or posteriorly, are diagnostically important and should be investigated further.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArthritis Care & Research
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)742-754
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note


    Research areas

  • Adult, Bone Marrow Diseases/diagnostic imaging, Case-Control Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Diagnosis, Differential, Edema/diagnostic imaging, Female, Housekeeping, Hospital, Humans, Intervertebral Disc Displacement/diagnostic imaging, Job Description, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Marathon Running, Middle Aged, Physical Endurance, Postpartum Period, Predictive Value of Tests, Prospective Studies, Sacroiliac Joint/diagnostic imaging, Sacroiliitis/diagnostic imaging, Spondylarthritis/diagnostic imaging, Young Adult

ID: 61659554