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MODERN ultrasonography provides important contributions to the evaluation of the renal mass and the diagnosis of impaired renal function. Awareness of the advantages and limitations of ultrasonography in the diagnosis of these frequently encountered urologic problems is essential if the performance of unnecessary diagnostic procedures is to be minimized and only relevant studies are performed.
The Renal Mass
An important diagnostic parameter relating to the renal mass (usually identified initially on intravenous urography [IVU]) concerns the consistency of such a mass—namely, whether it is fluid filled or solid. Since the ultrasonographic study is highly sensitive in detecting fluid, the diagnosis of a renal cyst can be made with an accuracy approaching 98%.1 This information is particularly valuable in the treatment of patients with renal masses, since most masses are cysts and generally of no clinical importance. The incidence of asymptomatic renal cysts has been reported to be about 20%
Rosenblatt R, Kutcher R. The Role of Ultrasonography in the Diagnosis of the Renal Mass and Impaired Renal Function. JAMA. 1984;251(19):2561–2563. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340430059031
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