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X-Ray Interpretations May Vary

Same series of X-rays, two very different viewpoints. The X-ray report from the radiologist said "mild degeneration of the SI joint". A musculoskeletal radiologist in the same clinic, in person, had a different interpretation: "significant damage".

Has anyone else had different interpretations of the same series of images? Where did it lead?

  1. ,
    That certainly is frustrating. From what I understand, getting two different readings from the same images is not uncommon. I'm glad Rebecca shared her personal experience, and I hope others will chime in here.
    I wish you all the best as you, Doreen (Team Member)

    1. Hello - this is a great topic to discuss. Thanks for posting. I am not sure why others haven't chimed in by now, but while waiting I wanted to acknowledge your query.

      It's not unusual for different healthcare providers, such as radiologists, to have different interpretations of the same series of imaging studies. This can be due to a variety of factors, including the complexity of the condition, the variability in how AS presents on imaging studies, and differences in expertise and experience among healthcare providers.

      I've had numerous discussions with my rheumatologist and orthopedist regarding different views of my imaging and its implications for me as someone living with inflammatory arthritis. However, when my orthopedic physician examines these findings, his focus tends to be on identifying structural abnormalities, damage, or growth within their area of expertise. As a result, the inflammation present in my pelvis around the hamstring region may not hold significant relevance to them, particularly in relation to the osteoarthritis I also experience. But following review, my rheumatologist decides I need a new treatment plan based on this inflammation present and whether he feels it worsening.

      I am presently grappling with a condition where my spine is slipping (spondylolisthesis), causing pressure on nerves radiating to my pelvis and lower limbs, resulting in terrible pain when ambulating. Upon recommendation from my rheumatologist, I sought evaluation from an orthopedic surgeon to determine if the issue is surgical or nerve-related, with the aim of finding effective and appropriate treatment. Despite ongoing treatment with biologics, the structural neurologic pain persists, leading me to opt for surgery based on the advice of my orthopedic surgeon. Both my rheumatologist and I agree that undergoing surgery offers the best chance for improving my quality of life, considering the impact of my inflammatory disease.

      It may be the general radiologist took a more simplistic approach to interpreting your images, whereas the musculoskeletal radiologist found them a bit more concerning. "They represent clinical consultations, resulting in opinions which are conclusions arrived at after weighing of evidence ... Sometimes it is possible to be definitive in radiological diagnoses, but in most cases, radiological interpretation is heavily influenced by the clinical circumstances of the patient, relevant past history and previous imaging, and myriad other factors, including biases of which we may not be aware."

      I hope this helps a little bit. I also hope others log on and help out with how they move forward in cases such as yours.

      Thoughtfully, Rebecca (team member)

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