Methods: MRI reports authored by medical radiologists from two independent MRI centers in the Denver metropolitan area were analyzed retrospectively for pathological data related to the spinal regions studied. A pathological report data sheet was used to record pathological findings in 22 different categories. A total of 150 reports from each provider group were reviewed.
Results: Of the 22 pathological conditions studied, a statistically significant difference between doctor of chiropractic and medical doctor referrers was identified in 4 categories: central spinal canal stenosis, lateral stenosis, facet arthrosis, and negative report. The most common primary diagnoses given for MRI referral were low back pain/sciatica, neck pain, and extremity pain. Seventy-four percent of the reports evaluated were performed on patients referred with a diagnosis of pain. In 3 of the 22 categories (14%), the medical doctors had a statistically higher pathological yield than the chiropractors. However, in 4 of the 22 categories (18%), the chiropractors had a statistically higher pathological yield. In 18 of the 22 categories (82%), there was no statistical difference between the two provider groups.
Conclusion: The data presented in this study suggests chiropractic and medical providers are compeer at ordering MRI for suspected pathological findings.
First author: Larry Morries
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