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Arthritis Test Results

X-rays

X-rays of the joints can be useful in diagnosing and monitoring many forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and osteoarthritis. In people with ankylosing spondylitis, X-rays of the sacroiliac joint can help confirm a diagnosis early on. In rheumatoid arthritis, the early development of bony erosions is associated with more severe disease.

Limitations: Although X-rays are useful in the evaluation of rheumatoid arthritis, they lack the sensitivity to show damage early in the course of the disease when treatment to prevent further damage is critical. Also, X-rays only show joint and bony damage; other imaging tests are needed to examine soft tissues.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on February 10, 2014

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