MRI improves treatment of ankle pain
9 January 2007
Cambridge, UK. MR imaging can make a dramatic difference in the
management of patients with ankle pain, changing treatment in about
one-third of the patients, a new study finds.
The study, of 91 patients, found that MR changed the management plans of
35% of patients, said Philip W.P. Bearcroft, MD, of Cambridge University
Hospitals in England. “This is itself is significant, but more significant
is the fact that before an MRI was done, 65 of the 91 patients were
scheduled to undergo surgery. After an MRI was done, nine of those patients
were treated nonsurgically,” Dr. Bearcroft said.
Dr. Bearcroft and his colleagues conducted the study in conjunction with
an orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon at a regional teaching hospital. The
surgeon noted his proposed treatment plan for each patient before and after
an MR examination. The surgeon also noted the potential diagnoses for each
Before an MR examination was done, the surgeon indicated an average 2.3
possible diagnoses per patient. “After MRI was performed, the number of
diagnoses per patient was reduced to 1.2,” said Dr. Bearcroft. MRI increased
the referring physician’s confidence in his diagnoses, Dr. Bearcroft said.
“In 66% of the MRI examinations performed, the referring surgeon felt that
his understanding of the patient’s disease had either depended upon or had
been substantially improved by MRI,” he added.
“This study is a bit different than the traditional radiological study,”
Dr. Bearcroft said. “Most studies relate to improving technique or look at
the accuracy and predictive value of imaging techniques. This one was
designed to determine if we really make a difference to the referring
physician and the patient,” he said.
The study appeared in a recent issue of the American Journal of
Roentgenology, published by the American Roentgen Ray Society.