Advanced technology is only as good as those tools that help to keep patients safe. Radiologists use MRI technology daily in order to diagnose illnesses such as cancer and neurological disorders. With the proper safety equipment, both medical professionals and patients can expect safe, accurate, MRI readings.
Magnetic items can effectively ruin an MRI reading if they are allowed to remain inside of an MRI suite. Non-magnetic diagnostics; carts; equipment, tools (such as wrenches and Allen keys); lighting, custodial tools and surgical instruments (including scissors and tweezers) are all vital parts of any MRI room.
In addition, patient transport and safety can be assured with the help of special non-magnetic patient transport options and patient comfort items (eye-masks, ear plugs, head phones, and prism glasses). Essentially, every item that enters MRI territory must be completed devoid of metal - even items such as badge lanyards, pulse oximeters, cylinder accessories, and electrodes.
Specially crafted everyday medical materials can now be used within any MRI room without consequence. Still, certain MRI safety materials are important in order to notify all patient and staff traffic of the MRI area. Warning signs, metal detectors, fire extinguishers, and Sharps needle containers help to keep any MRI environment free of contamination and incident.
The accessibility and availability of Magnetic Resonance Imaging has been linked to an increase in low back surgery. Research published in the October issue of Health Affairs shows a statistical increase in the number of surgeries performed in correlation to the number of machines in a geographic area.
MRI scanners are a huge capital investment and a state of art machine costs more than $2 million dollars. A lower back scan is about $1500 per patient. The number of machines increased in a five year period from 7.6 machines per 1 million people in 2000 to 26.6 machines per million in 2005. That is more than tripling the number of MRI scanners in a geographical area in less than 5 years.
Researchers collected data from Medicare patient records who received care for nonspecific low back pain from 1998 through 2005. Established clinical guidelines recommend delaying MRI use for four weeks after the onset of pain because during this window most low back pain patients show spontaneous improvement. However, the study indicates that the introduction of an MRI scan increases the chances of surgery on the lower back. The researchers were able to determine that of the MRI scans that resulted due to the increased availability of machines two-thirds of the scans were performed within the first month of the onset of pain.
A Magnetic Resonance Image is a diagnostic procedure which uses magnetic fields to create detailed pictures inside the body and head. These pictures help to detect subtle changes in tissue matter. MRI's are a medical marvel for ruling in or out specific causes of back pain due to trauma or over use problems, such as a herniated disk. However, like any diagnostic tool it may also detect anomalies unrelated to back pain but will prompt doctors to perform surgery which may not benefit the patient and alleviate their pain.
In the report researchers suggest that each additional MRI scanner in an area results in 40 additional lower-back scans. If you extrapolate this to the whole Medicare population that means around 6,400 more scans in a MRI dense area than a non-MRI dense area. Researchers are concerned because of the close link between the scan and back surgeries.
From a healthcare reform angle this is very interesting research. Just because providers have access to high tech diagnostic tools they need to practice solid judgment when recommending MRIs. This study shows that the net result of increased use of MRI's due to increased capacity raises the risks of unnecessary surgeries for patients and increased costs for everyone else and for more info please use this guide Stress Free MRI