Spondylodiscitis is a complex disease whose diagnosis and management are still challenging. The differentiation between infectious and non-infectious aetiology is mandatory to avoid delays in the treatment of life-threatening infectious conditions. Imaging methods, in particular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), play a key role in differential diagnosis. MRI provides detailed anatomical information, especially regarding the epidural space and spinal cord, and may allow differential diagnosis by assessing the characteristics of certain infectious and inflammatory/degenerative lesions. In this article, we provide an overview of the radiological characteristics and differentiating features of non-infectious inflammatory spinal disorders and infectious spondylodiscitis, focussing on MRI results and presenting relevant clinical and pathological features that help early diagnosis.
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