What is the role of imaging studies in the diagnosis of cervical disc disease?

Updated: Apr 16, 2020
  • Author: Michael B Furman, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Dean H Hommer, MD  more...
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Answer

Imaging studies evaluate anatomy rather than function and are prone to false positive and negative results. For example, Boden et al's cervical MR study cites abnormalities in nearly 20% of asymptomatic subjects. [27] In a study by Kuijper et al, clinically significant root compression was found in 73% of patients on MR, whereas in 45% of patients, root compression was found that could not be clinically correlated. [28] Consequently, results of imaging studies must be interpreted within the context of each clinical case, as false-positives and false-negative MRI findings occur rather frequently.


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