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Surgeon. 2014 Dec;12(6):301-6. doi: 10.1016/j.surge.2013.08.004. Epub 2013 Dec 2.

Incidentalology: A developing urological sub-specialty.

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Department of Urology, St. Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin 4, Ireland.
Department of Urology, St. Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin 4, Ireland. Electronic address:



To identify the incidence and features of significant incidental findings discussed at our departmental multidisciplinary team meeting (MDM). The improved quality of radiological imaging has resulted in increased rates of incidental findings. Although some may be trivial, many have clinical significance and early diagnosis and treatment may be beneficial.


A retrospective analysis was performed of all cases discussed at the MDM between January 2012 and February 2013. Cases were divided into two groups--Group 1 consisted of patients whose initial imaging was performed for a urological presentation which resulted in a synchronous finding; Group 2 consisted of patients who were referred with a synchronous urological finding for discussion following investigation of an initial benign urological condition or a non-urological condition.


696 patients were discussed at 53 MDMs. 109 (15.7%) patients had incidental findings. 61 (56%) of these were in Group 1. 16 (26.2%) were synchronous malignant diagnoses, 25 (41%) were benign and 20 (32.8%) were indeterminate. 48 (44%) patients in Group 2 - 40 (83.3%) were renal in origin and 30 (75%) of these proceeded to surgery. The median tumour size was 3.2 cm (Range: 1.2 cm-10 cm). One patient had radio-frequency ablation. Two were referred for palliative care. Seven patients are under ongoing surveillance--the median size of these lesions is 3.6 cm (Range: 2.1 cm-8.3 cm).


A substantial workload is generated from the investigation of incidental findings discussed at MDM--these now represent the majority of the caseload for renal cancer surgery.


Clinical significance; Incidental findings

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