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May 1959

Asymptomatic Abdominal Masses in Infants and Children

Author Affiliations

From the Surgical Service of the Children's Hospital, Harper Hospital, and Wayne State University College of Medicine.

AMA Arch Surg. 1959;78(5):688-697. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1959.04320050020003

By careful abdominal examination of the infant or child, the physician may detect an abdominal mass which has not produced symptoms. The finding of an abdominal mass under these circumstances is of great importance to the patient, because it affords the physician the opportunity to treat the lesion not only when the possibility for cure is feasible but when the chance for cure can be greatly increased.

Accidents are still the greatest cause of death in children, and the second cause of death is benign and malignant tumors. During the past 15 years there has been a dramatic decrease in the death rate in infants and children from infectious diseases, so that today the juvenile population has increased. With this increase, the number of infants and children having an abdominal mass is potentially increased. The majority of abdominal masses in this age group are of congenital origin, and the time