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Can J Surg. 2014 Apr;57(2):E25-30.

Spine surgeons' requirements for imaging at the time of referral: a survey of Canadian spine surgeons.

Author information

  • 1The Department of Anesthesia, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.
  • 2The Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont., Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.
  • 3The Divisions of Orthopedic Surgery and Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ont.
  • 4The Department of Surgery, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Man.
  • 5The Departments of Clinical Neurosciences and Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alta.
  • 6The Department of Radiology, Children's Hospital, Winnipeg, Man.
  • 7The Department of Medicine and the Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.

Abstract

in English, French

BACKGROUND:

Routine imaging of patients with spine-related complaints referred for surgical assessment may represent an inefficient use of technological resources. Our objective was to explore Canadian spine surgeons' requirements with respect to imaging studies accompanying spine-related referrals.

METHODS:

We administered an 8-item survey to all 100 actively practising surgeon members of the Canadian Spine Society that inquired about demographic variables and imaging requirements for patients referred with spine-related complaints.

RESULTS:

Fifty-five spine surgeons completed our survey, for a response rate of 55%. Most respondents (43; 78%) required imaging studies to accompany all spine-related referrals. The type of imaging required was highly variable, with respondents endorsing 7 different combinations. Half (47%) required magnetic resonance imaging and 38% required plain radiographs either alone or in combination with other forms of imaging. Half of the respondents refused to see 20% or more of all patients referred for spine-related complaints.

CONCLUSION:

Most Canadian spine surgeons require imaging studies to accompany spine-related referrals; however, the type and combination of studies is highly variable, and many patients who are referred are never seen (for a consultation). Standardization and optimization of imaging practices for patients with spine-related complaints referred for surgical assessment may be an important area for cost savings.

PMID:
24666456
PMCID:
PMC3968210
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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