Which physical findings suggest ankylosing spondylitis (AS)?

Updated: Jul 17, 2018
  • Author: Lawrence H Brent, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

Chronic involvement of the spine eventually can lead to decreases in ROM and fusion of the vertebral bodies. Involvement of the cervical and upper thoracic spine can lead to fusion of the neck in a stooped forward-flexed position (see the images below). This position can significantly limit the patient’s ability to ambulate and look straight ahead.

Patient with ankylosing spondylitis affecting cerv Patient with ankylosing spondylitis affecting cervical and upper thoracic spine. Patient's spine has been fused in flexed position.
Posterior view of patient with ankylosing spondyli Posterior view of patient with ankylosing spondylitis affecting cervical and upper thoracic spine. Patient's spine has been fused in flexed position.

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