MRI 2� X More Likely to get Surgery

Reference:Jarvik JG, et al Rapid magnetic resonance imaging vs radiographs for patients with low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2003 Jun 4;289(21):2810-8.

In this RCT 380 patients with low back pain (LBP) were randomly assigned to receive either plain x-rays or an MRI.

After 1 year, there were no significant differences in all the measured outcomes except for the fact that, 4 patients in the x-ray group versus 10 in the MRI group had lumbar spine surgery.

Clinical Relevance: Although both patients and physicians prefer an MRI to plain x-ray, an MRI doesn’t seem to offer additional benefit to patients, other than increasing the chances of undergoing an operation!

Posted on: December 15, 2011

Categories: Lumbar Spine

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