Etiology of Small Echogenic Renal Masses

Austin Kwong, Ana Mitchell, Danielle Wang, John P. McGahan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: There has been controversy on how frequently small echogenic masses are angiomyolipomas (AMLs) versus renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and how best to manage these echogenic masses. We performed this study to determine the etiologies of echogenic renal masses and compare them with prior publications to reach possible management decisions. Methods: This is a retrospective chart review of all consecutive renal ultrasound examinations performed at our institution between January 2015 and December 2016, with an ultrasound report finding containing the wording “echogenic” and “mass.” This yielded 6462 total examinations. A total of 107 echogenic lesions met inclusion and exclusion criteria with correlative computed tomography, pathology, or long-term (>5 years) follow-up ultrasound. These lesions were stratified into those that were ≤2 cm and those that were >2 cm. Results: Almost all masses were benign, with the majority (79/107) being AMLs (73.8%); 64 of the 79 (81%) of the AMLs were in female patients. Two of the 107 masses were RCCs, and 1 mass was an oncocytic neoplasm. There were 77 of the masses that were ≤2 cm and these masses were benign except for one lesion of an oncocytic neoplasm. There were 30 of the 107 masses >2 cm, with 2 of the 30 (6.7%) being RCCs. Conclusions: Incidental echogenic renal masses are most commonly AMLs. However, some masses may be RCCs. In comparing our results with the prior literature, we feel that small echogenic renal masses ≤1 cm usually require no further evaluation, while masses greater than that size require other imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Etiology of Small Echogenic Renal Masses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this