Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services increased by approximately 84% from 2004 to 2010 when the physician owned the MRI equipment/facility compared to 12%. This was reported in a recent report by the Government Accountability Office and they concluded that “financial incentives for self-referring providers were likely a major factor driving the increase in referrals.”
You usually do not “need an MRI” when you have pain to know what’s going on. An MRI, CT scan or X-Ray may be indicated if there has been significant trauma, a history of cancer, suspected fracture or other significant medical red flag. MRI’s are very sensitive, meaning they often find problems that have been there a long time and do not necessarily correspond to the current condition. Almost everyone over 50 has some amount of arthritis, stenosis, herniation and degeneration. A thorough evaluation with a patient history and hands-on assessment is much less expensive and time consuming to perform 1st when you are injured or have pain.
When was the last time you had an orthopedic evaluation and received a hands-on diagnostic tests by your physician without first having an X-ray, MRI or CT scan?