Management of the incidental renal mass.
Radiology. 2008 Oct;249(1):16-31
Authors: Silverman SG, Israel GM, Herts BR, Richie JP
Despite substantial advances in the imaging-based diagnosis of renal masses, the increased detection of incidental renal masses with cross-sectional imaging poses problems to the radiologist and referring physician. Most incidental renal masses can be diagnosed with confidence and either ignored or treated without further testing. However, some renal masses, particularly small ones, remain indeterminate and require a management strategy that is both medically appropriate and practical. In this article, the literature will be reviewed and an approach to the diagnosis and management of the incidental renal mass will be suggested. Management recommendations, derived from data regarding the probability of malignancy in cystic and solid renal masses, are provided for two types of patients, those in the general population and those with limited life expectancy or co-morbidity. The Bosniak classification is used to guide the management of cystic masses, with observation reserved for selected patients, and the presumption of benignity recommended for simple-appearing cystic masses smaller than 1 cm. Among solid renal masses, a more aggressive overall approach is taken. However, additional imaging, and in selected patients, percutaneous biopsy, is recommended to diagnose benign neoplasms. Although additional studies are needed to establish risks and benefits, observation of solid masses may be considered in selected patients. Minimally invasive treatments of renal cancer (including percutaneous ablation) show promise but at the same time challenge the radiologist to review the approach to the incidental renal mass.
PMID: 18796665 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]