The value of a repeat MRI examination of the sacroiliac joints following an inconclusive initial examination

Tamar Goitein Inbar, Merav Lidar, Iris Eshed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Assess the diagnostic utility of repeat sacroiliac joint (SIJ) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations following an inconclusive initial examination performed for suspected sacroiliitis. Method: Subjects with > 1 SIJ MRI examinations, an inconclusive first scan and at least 6 months interval between scans, were included. All scans were evaluated for the presence of structural/active SIJ lesions as well as any other pathology. Clinical data was extracted from the patients’ clinical files, and any missing data was obtained by a telephone interview. Diagnosis and active/structural scores were compared between first and follow-up examinations (t test). Results: Seventy-one subjects were included in the study, 77.4% females, mean age 41.0 ± 15 years, mean time interval between exams 30.4 ± 25.24 months. Twelve subjects performed > 2 scans. In only two subjects (2.81%), both females, MRI diagnosis changed from inconclusive to definite sacroiliitis. None of the subjects with > 2 scans had evidence of sacroiliitis in any of the following MRI examinations. Significant differences were observed between the scores of active SIJ lesion of the first and follow-up MRI (1.51/1.62, p = 0.02) but not for scores of structural lesions (1.22/1.68, p = 0.2). Conclusions: Repeat SIJ MRI when the first MRI is inconclusive for sacroiliitis is more valuable in ruling out than in securing diagnosis of sacroiliitis. We suggest that when MRI findings are inconclusive, decision-making should be based on clinical data.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSkeletal Radiology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • MRI
  • Sacroiliac joints
  • Spondyloarthritis


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