Which imaging studies are indicated in the evaluation of suspected gout or pseudogout?

Updated: Jan 26, 2021
  • Author: Bruce M Rothschild, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Imaging studies of the affected joint or joints are indicated. Patients with new onset of acute gout usually have no radiographic abnormalities. In established disease, radiographs may reveal punched-out erosions or lytic areas with overhanging edges.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is capable of detecting crystal deposits but is not part of any routine evaluation for acute arthritis. MRI can be very useful in determining the extent of the disease and may help in the differential diagnosis.

Patients with pseudogout usually have degenerative joint changes evident on imaging studies. In addition, they may have calcifications in the soft tissues, tendons, or bursae.

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