A prospective analysis of the radiological findings and final diagnoses of 342 patients discussed at joint surgical/radiological conferences over a seven-month period was undertaken in an attempt to define the role of the radiologist in the clinical management of surgical patients. Although the diagnosis had already been correctly made on clinical or radiological grounds in 38% (130/342) of patients presented at the X-ray conferences, careful review of the films resulted in an immediate firm diagnosis in a further 9% (31/342), or promoted further radiological investigations which were responsible for an eventual definitive diagnosis in 20% of the remainder (32/169). The input of the radiologist in selecting the most appropriate additional investigation was particularly valuable in the management of more complex clinical problems.
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