Abnormal MRI?

Abnormal MRI? Don't become a "vomit"!

I heard a comical, but quite serious acronym on the other day. "Victim of modern imaging technology" - VOMIT.

Whilst amusing, this describes a very real problem. It has come from the issues of MRI scans being widely available (and even for patietns to buy themselves), and the reports being interpreted by people who are not used to reading the scans.

Modern scans will quite commonly pick up a shopping list of abnormalities even in a fairly normal person, and a radiologists job is to report every one of the abnormalities.

The job of the doctor or orthopaedic specialist is to interpret these findings in the context of someones problems and what they see when they examine the person.

More frequently these days I see patients with considerable concerns or who have even undergone treatments or surgery for completely irrelevant MRI scan findings, which were not the things causing problems in the first place.

Doctors can become VOMITs too by reading and beliving the report, not looking at the human being infront of them.

To put this to the test I got scans of my healthy pain free knees (they can still cycle for 180 miles in a day). This showed up 4 common abnormalities which would usually be at least considered for surgery - even though my knees are fine!

Take care not to be a VOMIT - see a good specialist first and put your trust in them.

Posted on Mar 18, 2016

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