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Radiology/MRI and spondyloarthritis


Dear Delia. My husband has seen 2 rheumatologists who gave conflicting advice.  The one said that spondyloarthritis is better diagnosed by clinical examination and that an MRI can give a false negative.  The other said that it is impossible to diagnose spondyloarthritis without an MRI - she says that it never can give a false negative.  These views are absolutely contradictory and we need to know what the value of a MRI is in diagnosing spondyloarthritis.

Hello, Antoinette.

I'm so sorry you and your husband are going through this. I hope he feels better soon.

It is entirely possible for any imaging procedure to give a false negative result, for a number of reasons. A radiology report reflects the impression or opinion of the radiologist who read the exam. Radiologists are only human, and can make mistakes.

Also, sometimes images exhibit artifacts from foreign bodies or patient movement, which can mimic conditions that may not exist.

Rheumatologists are specialists in arthritis. They don't always know everything about diagnostic imaging. I recommend you consult with a radiologist about this. A radiologist is a specialist in interpreting diagnostic images. I would tend to believe a radiologist over a rheumatologist regarding whether an MRI would give a false negative in your husband's case or not.

I wish I could be of more help, but I am not a physician. I am only the photographer.

Hope this helps,


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Delia White


I am not qualified to interpret diagnostic imaging or to diagnose disease. Please consult a physician for that information. I am the photographer. I can tell you what to expect during most MRI, CT and X-ray procedures.


I now have more than 30 years experience in diagnostic imaging. My specialty is MRI. I am also very familiar with CT and the way we used to take x-rays (everything's digital now)!

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Radiologic Technology.

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