I have a friend who has been complaining of weakness in his legs. He has a history of high cholesterol and has been on statins.
He was seen by a spine surgeon and after an MRI showed spinal stenosis, decompressive surgery was suggested. His internist recommended stopping the statin since it can cause leg pain and weakness. Two weeks after the statin was stopped his weakness went away.
Overreliance on imaging studies could result in unnecessary surgeries as in this case. As many as 90% of adult patients who have had MRIs of the lumbosacral spine have spinal “abnormalities”. Just because we find something on imaging doesn’t mean it is the cause of the pain.
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