Understanding Imaging Results (LIRE)

Diagnostic imaging, such as x-rays and MRIs, is often the first step in evaluating patients with back pain and likely functions as a “gateway” to additional treatment. However, spine imaging often reveals unrelated issues that are no different from what might be found in normal, pain-free people. These issues may lead to unnecessary treatment. The Lumbar Imaging with Reporting of Epidemiology (LIRE) study examines what happens when a description is inserted in imaging reports describing how common some of these additional unrelated issues are. We will then examine if this text reduces additional treatment. The LIRE study began in 2015 and is currently working with 4 healthcare systems to insert the explanatory language into imaging reports. Study results are expected over the next year.


Do you have personal experience with back pain, or experience caring for someone with back pain? We need your expertise! Contact us to learn how you can get involved.