November 7, 2011

IT'S ABOUT HYGIENE, NOT HEALTH:

Sports Medicine Said to Overuse M.R.I.'s (GINA KOLATA, 10/28/11, NY Times)

Dr. James Andrews, a widely known sports medicine orthopedist in Gulf Breeze, Fla., wanted to test his suspicion that M.R.I.'s, the scans given to almost every injured athlete or casual exerciser, might be a bit misleading. So he scanned the shoulders of 31 perfectly healthy professional baseball pitchers.

The pitchers were not injured and had no pain. But the M.R.I.'s found abnormal shoulder cartilage in 90 percent of them and abnormal rotator cuff tendons in 87 percent. "If you want an excuse to operate on a pitcher's throwing shoulder, just get an M.R.I.," Dr. Andrews says.

He and other eminent sports medicine specialists are taking a stand against what they see as the vast overuse of magnetic resonance imaging in their specialty.

M.R.I.'s can be invaluable in certain situations -- finding serious problems like tumors or helping distinguish between competing diagnoses that fit a patient's history and symptoms. They also can make money for doctors who own their own machines. And they can please sports medicine patients, who often expect a scan.

But scans are easily misinterpreted and can result in misdiagnoses leading to unnecessary or even harmful treatments.
People want medicine to make them "normal," even though abnormality is normal.


Posted by at November 7, 2011 5:50 PM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« GETTING BACK TO 18%: | Main | JUST A RUN OF THE MILL DEMOCRATIC NATION: »