Are X-rays after knee replacement unnecessary?

Sep 5, 2021 Radiology Updates

More than 99% of X-rays after total knee replacement surgery appear to be unnecessary, costing the healthcare system millions, according to a new analysis.

Gathering radiographs following this operation is common practice, but there is little data on the usefulness of these exams, experts wrote in The Knee. Wanting to better understand this practice, Brigham and Women’s scientists analyzed postoperative data across two level 1 trauma centers.

Their results were eye opening: Almost 100% of scans after total knee arthroplasty had no impact on clinical management after the procedure. Yet, these routine radiographs cost some $1 million while administering 22.92 mSV of radiation to patients who didn’t require such imaging.

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