BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Second opinion reports of neurologic head and neck imaging are requested with increased regularity, and they may contain a recommendation to the clinician. Our aim was to investigate the frequency and determinants of the presence of a recommendation and the adherence by the referring physician to the recommendation in a second opinion neurology head and neck imaging report and the diagnostic yield of these recommendations.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This retrospective study included 994 consecutive second opinion reports of neurology head and neck imaging examinations performed at a tertiary care center.
RESULTS: Of the 994 second opinion reports, 12.2% (121/994) contained a recommendation. An oncologic imaging indication was significantly (P = .030) associated with a lower chance of a recommendation in the second opinion report (OR = .67; 95% CI, 0.46?0.96). Clinicians followed 65.7% (88/134) of the recommendations. None of the investigated variables (patient age, sex, hospitalization status, indication for the second opinion report, experience of the radiologist who signed the second opinion report, strength of the recommendation, and whether the recommendation was made due to apparent quality issues of the original examination) were significantly associated with the compliance of the referring physician to this recommendation. The 134 individual recommendations eventually led to the establishment of 52 (38.2%) benign diagnoses and 28 (20.6%) malignant diagnoses, while no definitive diagnosis could be established in 56 (41.2%) cases.
CONCLUSIONS: Recommendations are relatively common in second opinion reports of neurology head and neck imaging examinations, though less for oncologic indications. They are mostly followed by requesting physicians, thus affecting patient management. In most cases, they also lead to the establishment of a diagnosis, hence adding value to patient care.