Imaging the human body has always generated great attention. The potential to look deep inside tissues and to uncover disease processes has developed at an enormous speed, opening new possibilities to better characterize human disease. Among the different fields of imaging, the detection of inflammation is one of the areas with the fastest development, providing great value for understanding, characterizing and monitoring immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. Imaging has become anchored in the clinical science of inflammation during the last few years. This development has led not only to a deeper understanding of the pathophysiology of inflammation in the human body but also created excellent opportunities to better define the effects of modern anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory therapy at the target tissue level. As a consequence the application of modern imaging technologies has become indispensable for performing high-quality clinical research in the field of rheumatic and other immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. The capacities of already existing imaging modalities steadily increase and new techniques are developed that will further improve characterization of inflammation in vivo.
Hence, it can be foreseen that the importance of imaging will increase even further in the future.