Study: No Clinical Value Found In Using MRI For Lower Back Pain Injections

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Before a health care professional do a procedure, specifically if it is an invasive procedure which means that it directly invades the blood stream or is directly introduce into the body of the patient, certain tests should be conducted in order to verify the location and the internal structures of the body that is to be affected by the procedure. Some of these tests include: X-rays, CT scans, and MRI.

These screening tests are done in order to have a clear picture of the internal structure of the patient and avoid any possible complications of doing the procedure at a wrong site. However, these screening tests vary based on their imaging and their price. X-ray is the cheapest and most affordable among those tests, while the use of MRI is the most expensive. Recent issues arise because of the use of MRI of many doctors to patients who do not necessitate the screening.

In fact, according to a new study, the prior use of MRI has been found to have no clinical value among those patients who will undergo epidural injections of steroid at their lower back for pain relief. And thus, leads to unnecessary spending which adds to the financial burden of these patients.

The findings of the new study were published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers found out after the analysis of data that there were no improvements of treatment outcomes among patients who underwent MRI prior the procedure of lower back injections of steroids. Instead, the use of MRI had a minor bearing on the decision of the doctors whether to pursue or not with the injection procedure.

The new study involved the analysis and assessment of data gathered from about 132 patients who have an average age of 52 years. These patients were treated for sciatica where there is a painful sensation experienced by these patients due to the compression of the nerve root of the sciatic at the bottom of the spinal cord. These study participants were divided into two groups, but then, both groups were assigned to undergo MRI. The first group after undergoing MRI, the doctors did not consult the results of the MRI. On the other hand, the doctors of the other group consulted the MRI results prior to conducting the procedure.

Moreover, researchers found out that there were no significant differences between the treatment outcomes of the two study groups which proved that the indiscriminate use of MRI had no bearing on the improvements of patients who underwent epidural injections for pain relief.





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