Palpable abdominal masses may arise from the abdominal cavity or the abdominal wall. The differential diagnosis is broad for each variant ranging from benign lipomas, inflammatory processes, to malignant tumors. The imaging approach to diagnosis varies by location. For intra-abdominal masses, contrast-enhanced CT and ultrasound examination have demonstrated accuracy. For abdominal wall masses, which may arise from muscle, subcutaneous tissue, or connective tissue, MRI, CT, and ultrasound all provide diagnostic value. This publication reviews the current evidence supporting the imaging approach to diagnosis of palpable abdominal masses for two variants: suspected intra-abdominal neoplasm and suspected abdominal wall masses. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed annually by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and revision include an extensive analysis of current medical literature from peer reviewed journals and the application of well-established methodologies (RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation or GRADE) to rate the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures for specific clinical scenarios. In those instances where evidence is lacking or equivocal, expert opinion may supplement the available evidence to recommend imaging or treatment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging