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Logo of brjgenpracRCGP homepageJ R Coll Gen Pract at PubMed CentralBJGP at RCGPBJGP at RCGP
Br J Gen Pract. Sep 1997; 47(422): 575–576.
PMCID: PMC1313109

Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine: direct access for general practitioners.


At the Cardiff Royal Infirmary we have offered general practitioners (GPs) direct access for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the lumbar spine for sciatica or suspected spinal claudication since January 1993. We compared referrals for MRI from GPs and hospital outpatient doctors, and assessed GP patient management following the scan report. No difference in the diagnostic rates for disc herniation and spinal stenosis were found. GP direct access shortens investigation time, potentially reduces waiting lists, and allows GPs to make more informed management decisions.

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  • Maravilla KR, Cohen WA, Wessbecher FW. Imaging studies in the assessment of low back pain. Neurosurg Clin N Am. 1991 Oct;2(4):817–837. [PubMed]

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