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The difficulty of identifying hernias in imaging tests

According to a hernia specialist who spoke at the 2016 annual meeting of the Americas Hernia Society, radiologists often overlook inguinal hernias when they are unable to identify them using imaging tests despite patient symptoms that suggest them. A radiologist replied that they may notice but not report on certain inguinal hernias. He said that the link between pain and the existence of these types of hernias is not conclusive. However, based on the specialist's recommendation, patients in Iowa and throughout the country might want to have additional imaging tests done if they have hernia symptoms.

One problem is that the most commonly used imaging tests are more accurate in their positive identifications than in their negatives. For example, an ultrasound is a good tool for positively identifying a hernia, but a negative from an ultrasound is much less reliable. With CT scans, negatives are accurate only 4 percent of the time.

The MRI is much more reliable. Insurance rarely agrees to pay for this test, but the specialist urged practitioners to turn to this when a patient continues to report symptoms consistent with a hernia. She also suggested that radiologists and surgeons work on building a relationship.

Some conditions, such as some types of hernias, can be difficult to diagnose from tests. However, if people feel that their doctor has dismissed their concerns, resulting in a wrong diagnosis or no diagnosis, they might want to consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit with the assistance of an attorney. The success of the case will hinge upon whether the medical professional failed to exhibit the requisite standard of care. Another necessary element is that the doctor error must have caused harm to the patient.

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