Although primary bone tumors are relatively uncommon, appropriate imaging evaluation is essential when they are suspected or incidentally detected. In almost all cases, radiographs are the most appropriate initial imaging study for screening and characterization of primary bone tumors. Radiographs often provide sufficient information for diagnosis and to guide the treating clinician. However, when conventional radiographs alone are inadequate, they still often guide the selection of the most appropriate next step for advanced imaging. MRI and CT are typically the most appropriate next step. MRI provides excellent soft-tissue contrast allowing for evaluation of the tissue composition (such as fat, hemorrhage, fluid levels) and anatomic extent of bone tumors. CT provides complementary information, with its ability to detect subtle matrix mineralization or periosteal reaction that may not be seen on radiographs or MRI. This publication focuses on six common variants to guide diagnosis and management of primary bone tumors. In addition to conventional radiographs, appropriate use of MRI, CT, PET/CT, bone scan, and ultrasound are discussed. 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