BackgroundThe anterior chest wall (ACW) involvement is characteristic of synovitis, acne, pustulosis, hyperostosis, and osteitis (SAPHO) syndrome, yet little research has focused on its magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings.PurposeTo characterize the MRI features of the ACW in patients with SAPHO syndrome.MethodsSeventy-one patients with SAPHO syndrome and ACW involvement evidenced by bone scintigraphy were recruited in this cross-sectional study. The ACW region was scanned using sagittal, axial, and oblique coronal Dixon T2-weighted sequences and axial Dixon T1-weighted sequences. The characteristics of both active inflammatory and chronic structural lesions were evaluated.ResultsThe ACW lesions exhibited an asymmetrical distribution and a predilection for the sternocostoclavicular region (93.0%). Notably, 91.5% of the patients had lesions in the area of the anterior first ribs. Bone marrow edema (BME) was observed in 63 (88.7%) patients, which mainly affected the sternocostal joints (87.3%) and the manubrium sterni (84.5%). All of the BMEs were distributed under the articular surface or the bone cortex, consistent with the distribution of the ligaments and joint capsules. Synovitis was detected in 64 (90.1%) patients, with a predilection for the sternoclavicular joints (76.1%). A soft tissue mass or infiltration was found in all the patients who had bone marrow edema. Thirteen (18.3%) patients showed venous stenosis. Structural changes included bone bridge formation (80.3%), hyperostosis (43.7%), and fat infiltration (39.4%). Four common patterns of involvement were observed: the first rib area, the sternoclavicular area, the sternal angle area, and the areas of the second to sixth sternocostal joints.ConclusionThe ACW lesions of SAPHO syndrome demonstrated a triad of enthesitis, synovitis, and osteitis, suggesting complex interactions among the ligaments, synovium, and bones in the region. The inflammatory changes in the first rib area were highlighted in SAPHO syndrome.