Soft tissue radiography of the hands using the mammographic immersion technique was performed on 119 patients, having definite or classical rheumatoid arthritis, and on 123 controls of matching age, sex, and professional distribution. A total of 7744 finger joints and carpal borders were investigated for joint swelling, periarticular edema, pre-erosive and erosive bone changes, joint space narrowing, and osteoarthritic joint margin spurs. Slight joint swelling and pre-erosive bone changes were found in connection with osteoarthritic joint changes in elderly control patients. Periarticular edema and moderate to massive joint swelling were quite reliable signs for synovitis. The incidence of pre-erosive bone signs was significantly greater in the rheumatoid arthritis group than in the control group, especially in patients less than 60 years old. These signs can be regarded as suggestive of rheumatoid arthritis; probability diagnosis could be performed using these signs and the Bayesian approach.