What is the role of CT scanning in the workup of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) of the cervical spine?

Updated: Aug 13, 2019
  • Author: Steven R Garfin, MD; Chief Editor: Jeffrey A Goldstein, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Historically, tomograms were useful for quantitating the degree of basilar invagination and to measure the anterior (AADI) and posterior (PADI) atlantodental intervals more accurately in patients with abnormal radiographs. However, computed tomography (CT) scanning with sagittal and coronal reformatting has largely supplanted biplanar tomography. A CT scan combined with intrathecal contrast provides excellent bony detail and the ability to detect spinal cord compression from synovial pannus.

Although the noninvasive nature of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has made it the preferred modality for this type of evaluation, CT myelography is useful for patients with contraindications to MRI.


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