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Has anyone had a orthopedic surgeon who didn't know how to read an MRI?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

My orthopedic surgeon (who as been assigned to evaluate me for surgery) does not know how to read an MRI, and just reads the radiologist report without looking at the MRI pictures himself. Is this normal for an orthopedic surgeon?

It makes me wonder about his competence as a diagnostician and surgeon. I would expect a surgeon, who needs to know the exact location of each problem that he is operating on, to view the MRI images himself, but I don't know. What is your experience?


P.S. I'm new on this board
L5-S1 degenerating disk


  • Your doctor should absolutely be able to read your MRI. I would grab your MRI and paperwork and find another doctor, for sure. Not to alarm you, but I would not trust any doctor that didn't know how to read my MRI!

    Welcome to the board, by the way :) There are lots of friendly and helpful people on here.
  • Where are you from? Even if you have to travel You should! Your doc should be able to read an MRI. Best of luck!
  • My surgeon not only read my MRI he consulted with his partner, and showed me where the "damage" was as he explained with a "model" what he would be doing.
    Good luck and God bless and keep you as you make your
  • Hi Ward,

    Welcome, I'm w/ the others - run (no...make that hobble) to another doc ASAP. My OSS wrote my MRI script ordering the films were to be given to me right after the scan so that I could carry them to my apptmt. Had a similar experience as Shirley, he put the films up and reviewed each w/ me so that I could understand what the issues were and what the plan of action would be. He did this w/ ALL films - flexion/extension x-rays, MRI & CT, told me the reports were of secondary interest to him since he needed to assess the films himself. Also, please be sure that whoever you see (neurologist or orthopedist) are fellowship trained and whose practices are focused on issues of the spine/back. This offers the best potential for a successful outcome on surgery. There is a search function for finding a doc on this site, it might be a good idea to start there to find another doc.

    Hope it helps, please keep us posted.
  • with the others. Find a doctor that will not only read your MRI, but will go over it and show you until you understand whats going on. I had a PM doc order a MRI at my insistence, do the same thing to me. He only read the report and told me I was fine, to keep doing yoga and taking my meds. I wasn't comfortable that he didn't go over the images with me and went elsewhere with my MRI. Come to find out I had a severely herniated disc that was impinging my spinal chord, causing a myriad of symptoms and problems on a daily basis.

    Good luck and please keep us posted on your progress.

  • cjerorccjeror Malone, NYPosts: 1
    OMG!!!  I found out that my orthopedic surgeon doesn't know how to read them too!!  He said that's what they have radiologists for.  And I am paying for it now, because I just found out, through outside sources, that he does not know how to read them.  My doctor did 2 surgeries on my knee and I am in worse shape now than when I began.  I would definitely say if he does not know how to read one, don't let him touch you!!!
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