Subspecialty teleradiology enables completion of podiatry MRI study

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A complex podiatry study, published in the March 2008 issue of Skeletal Radiology was completed in a few months, instead of years, due to its reliance on a subspecialty teleradiology model, which aggregates a high volume of MRI interpretations coupled with specialized podiatry expertise.
The study "Plantar fasciitis and calcaneal spur formation are associated with abductor digiti minimi atrophy on MRI of the foot," describes a study conducted from August 2006 to January 2007 with 200 patients of all ages from 40 states referred for an MRI of the hindfoot due to the presence of heel pain, according the research team, which included musculoskeletal radiology specialists from both Franklin & Seidelmann Subspecialty Radiology and Maimonides Medical Center.

Study conclusions showed a significant association between atrophy of the abductor digit minimi muscle, an MRI manifestation of Baxter's neuropathy, with age, plantar calcaneal spur formation and plantar fasciitis. These findings support the notion of an etiologic role for compression of the inferior calcaneal nerve as it passes anterior to the medial calcaneal tuberosity in the development of Baxter's neuropathy, F &S said.

"Heel pain is very common yet not well understood, and the significance of the study proved that MRI can be a useful diagnostic tool when done prior to a surgical procedure to better define the patient's problem and potentially alter the surgery or patient expectations," said Dr. Javier Beltran, American Board of Radiology cCertified radiologist and musculoskeletal MRI specialist with F &S.
"The sheer number of radiology cases reviewed by Franklin & Seidelmann enabled the group to complete the study so quickly," added Beltran. "The ability to collect large amounts of data in a few months is unique to this setting. In any other environment a clinical researcher would have to wait years before having sufficient data to validate any conclusions," he said.  "In this particular study the team requested all F &S radiologists who interpret musculoskeletal ankle MRI studies to send any cases that fulfilled specific diagnostic criteria to them. In a few months they were able to have enough cases to provide a sound statistical analysis and reach significant conclusions."