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Welcome to spa-imaging.org

This website is designed to promote diagnostic imaging and treatment of arthritides predominantly affecting the sacroiliac and spinal joints.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is increasingly used to confirm the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis (AS), also named Morbus Bechterew, and other forms of arthritides predominantly affecting the sacroiliac and spinal joints, collectively named spondyloarthropathies (SpA). MRI is also suitable for monitoring these rheumatic diseases.
It is important for the use of MRI to detect and follow AS that the interpretation of the findings is certain and uniform between the departments performing MRI. To ensure this, there is a need for easily accessible images showing typical disease manifestations and normal findings at MRI.


The overall purpose of this website is to illustrate and describe the typical imaging findings, especially by MRI in patients with AS corresponding to different degrees of disease severity. Moreover, to show MR changes in other forms of SpA and changes that may be misinterpreted as arthritis in addition to normal findings. Doctors who use MRI to diagnose and monitor AS can easily acquire knowledge promoting optimal use of MRI.
Patients should have the opportunity to acquire knowledge about the diagnostic and monitoring possibilities by MRI which constitute the backbone of their diagnosis and treatment.
To increase reader-friendliness and applicability this website offers explanations of medical terminology.


Rheumatic inflammation located to the joints between the sacrum and the ilium (the sacroiliac joints) always occurs in AS and is part of most other forms of SpA. This website focuses on illustrating changes in these joints corresponding to various degrees of arthritis (sacroiliitis) in AS and other forms of SpA in addition to normal findings, including normal variants and diseases that can simulate sacroiliitis.
As spinal changes are also an important part of SpA, especially in the later stages, this website describes different degrees and types of rheumatic inflammation in the spinal joints.
Changes in other joint regions are illustrated briefly.
Other imaging methods than MRI are mentioned and explained in situations where they may be preferable.

Specification of content

Generel aspects of spondyloarthropathies (SpA)


Imaging methods

Conventional radiography (radiography)

Computer tomography (CT)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)


Ankylosing spondylitis

General imaging aspects

Sacroiliitis by radiography

Sacroiliitis by MRI

Spinal changes by radiography

Spinal changes by MRI

Spinal fractures

Other joints


Other SpA forms

Psoriatic arthropathy

Reactive arthritis

Arthritis associated with inflammatory bowel diseases (enteropathic arthropathy)

Pustulotic arthro-osteitis

Juvenile spondyloarthropathy



Creator / webmaster

Anne Grethe Jurik, Research consultant, DMSc.
Department of Radiology,

Aarhus University Hospital, Noerrebrogade 44

8000 Aarhus C


The website is supported financially by the Danish Ankylosing Spondylitis Society by honouring Anne Grethe Jurik og Berit Schiotzz-Christensen with the Bechterew prize in 2007.

Visitors since May 1st., 2008:  0484525