AAOS: MRIs Over-Utilized in Knee Osteoarthritis Patients

Primary care providers faulted for ordering such tests before patients consult orthopaedic surgeon

THURSDAY, March 6 (HealthDay News) -- Prior to consulting an orthopaedic surgeon about total knee arthroplasty, many osteoarthritis patients may undergo costly and unnecessary MRI tests, according to research presented this week at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' 75th annual meeting in San Francisco.

Wayne M. Goldstein, M.D., of the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute and Center for Orthopaedic Surgery in Morton Grove, Ill., and colleagues reviewed the chart records of a random sample of 50 patients who underwent total knee arthroplasty and conducted follow-up telephone interviews to determine whether or not they had MRI of the knee before seeing an orthopaedic surgeon.

The researchers found that 32 of 50 patients had undergone prior MRI tests of the knee and that fewer than half had undergone prior radiographs.

"There is no or minimal benefit to MRI in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee," the authors conclude. "This study suggests the need for strict guidelines or credentialing of those who order musculoskeletal MRIs."

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