Are there any imaging findings that are suggestive of septic arthritis?
Yes. The findings of a large complex joint effusion with thick synovial enhancement and bone marrow edema in the bones surrounding the joint raise suspicion for septic arthritis, particularly when only one joint is involved. Periarticular osteopenia, uniform joint space narrowing, osseous erosions, and soft tissue swelling may also be seen. Nevertheless, the diagnosis should still be confirmed with arthrocentesis to exclude rare mimickers of infection (such as an aggressive inflammatory arthropathy) and, more important, to obtain a microbiological diagnosis to aid in the selection of appropriate antimicrobial therapy.