Send to

Choose Destination
Radiology. 2014 Nov;273(2 Suppl):S126-41. doi: 10.1148/radiol.14140733.

Imaging the renal mass: a historical review.

Author information

From the Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St, New Haven, CT 06510.


A matter of months after Roentgen's landmark discovery in 1895, Roentgen's rays were focused on diseases and disorders of the urinary tract, specifically the kidney. At the dawn of the 20th century, urologists in the United States and around the world quickly recognized that by using a variety of metal stylets and radiopaque contrast agents, such as silver salts, the upper urinary tract, namely the ureter, pelvis, and calyces, could be depicted with radiography. Renal cysts and tumors were diagnosed on the basis of deformities in the kidney. Retrograde pyelography dominated the imaging evaluation of the kidney until the discovery of a safe intravenous method for urinary tract imaging (ie, intravenous pyelography). Pioneers and pathfinders in the field of contrast media development and radiologic procedures helped give radiologists the lead role in the work-up of renal masses, an area where urologists once held forth. The subspecialty of uroradiology was born in the middle of the 20th century. Intravenous urography, nephrotomography, and diagnostic angiography with pharmacologic manipulation followed by cyst or mass puncture and biopsy yielded unrivaled specificity for the diagnosis and staging of benign and malignant renal masses. The advent of cross-sectional and multiplanar imaging and the profound effects they had and continue to have on the discovery and characterization of renal masses has been detailed in the pages of Radiology since the 1920s. Ultrasonography, nuclear imaging, computed tomographic scanning, magnetic resonance imaging, and positron emission tomography each have made a claim to a part of the imaging algorithm of modern uroradiologic practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center