How are CT scanning and MRI used to diagnose septic arthritis?

Updated: Sep 19, 2017
  • Author: John L Brusch, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Computed tomography (CT) scanning and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are more sensitive for distinguishing osteomyelitis, periarticular abscesses, and joint effusions. The information gained usually does not justify the increased cost; however, these tests are most helpful in patients with sacroiliac or sternoclavicular joint infection to rule out extension into the mediastinum or pelvis. MRI is preferred because of its greater ability to image soft tissue.


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