B – Overpowering images

Redberg RF. Overpowering images. JAMA Internal Medicine 2016;176(1):17
(doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.6933)

While there has been an exponential increase in medical imaging, there are few data demonstrating improvements in outcome, and imaging that requires ionizing radiation is known to be harmful. The “slippery slope” story of Dr Michael Barry et al illustrates one of the unintended harms of graphic imaging: dramatic pictures make clinicians (and patients) more likely to want to “do something” instead of considering a more conservative therapy. This story underlines the importance of treating the patient and not the laboratory test or the image.