Can Radiation Treat Ankylosing Spondylitis?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 1/11/2018

Ask the experts

Do you have any information on radiation treatment for ankylosing sondylitis?

Doctor's response

Many decades ago, radiation treatments were used to treat the inflammation of the spine in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. This did have an effect that reduced the spinal inflammation. However, the side effects were too toxic, including damage to the bone marrow (much of which is produced in the vertebrae of the spine) and later development of cancers.

Currently, there are many effective treatments for ankylosing spondylitis that are much less toxic than radiation therapy.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018