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Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 2005 Feb;26(1):2-13.

The management of indeterminate incidental findings detected at abdominal CT.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, The University of Utah, Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132, USA.


Abdominal computed tomography (CT) scans often have findings that are incidental to the reason the study was ordered. Several recent studies and reviews have addressed how these findings should be managed. This article summarizes current management strategies for several types of lesions that are commonly encountered. Some of these findings can be characterized without additional imaging (including simple renal cyst, angiomyolipoma, hepatic steatosis). Other findings are indeterminate. While some of these indeterminate incidental findings can be ignored based on statistical arguments (for example, a sharply circumscribed homogeneous low-attenuation renal lesion under 1 cm in patients without a predisposition to develop renal cell carcinoma), many may need additional imaging studies to either characterize them or demonstrate stability over time. Adhering to these strategies will hopefully reduce overutilization of imaging services while directing attention to those findings which need diagnostic or therapeutic interventions.

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