Got bad knees? An X-ray may be a better way to check for osteoarthritis than a pricey MRI. A sampling of 50 knee replacements at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute found that MRIs, which can run $2,500, didn't provide any more diagnostic information than a $150 standing X-ray.
So patients—who sometimes share the costs—may want to speak up before undergoing an MRI. Says lead author Wayne Goldstein, a clinical professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago's College of Medicine: "You don't order the MRI without doing the X-ray first."