Clinical guidance for MRI referral

Information about MRI referrals and reports

MRI referrals

GPs can expect more clinically relevant reports when they ask specific clinical questions and provide a diagnosis or differential diagnoses based on clinical findings in the referral requests. For example, when requesting a neck MRI, where incidental degenerative lesions are common, providing information that the patient has neck pain with progressive left-sided C7 radiculopathy and suspected disc herniation is likely to assist the radiologist in preparing a more specific and helpful report.

Talking to a radiologist about a patient prior to referral may help to determine the most appropriate imaging. This includes the use of contrast. Note that while contrast may be requested by the referring clinician, contrast studies may not always be done if the radiologist determines plain imaging to be more appropriate.

Equally important to consider and address are the imaging expectations of patients prior to referral. Patients need to be educated that structural changes do not necessarily correlate well with symptoms.

This event attracts CPD points and can be self recorded

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