Incidental Abdominal Radiologic Finding

An incidental abdominal radiologic finding happens during an imaging exam of your abdominal region. The finding is an abnormality, and it is incidental because it is unrelated to the reason your caregiver prescribed the exam. The abnormality is usually a very small mass or scar tissue.

With newer imaging tests and technologies, it is becoming more common to find small masses and tissue when looking for other things. These findings can sometimes be related to undiagnosed illness. Although many are not a cause for concern, it is always a good idea to talk to your caregiver about what was found.

TYPES OF FINDINGS

Incidental abdominal radiologic findings are often located in the kidneys or liver, but they can also be found in the gallbladder, adrenal glands, intestines and other surrounding organs and tissues. There are many types of masses and tissue abnormalities that can be detected during an imaging test:

  • Lesions. Changes in tissue due to infection, tissue death, or trauma.

  • Cysts. Sacs filled with fluid or some other substance.

  • Tumors. Noncancerous or cancerous solid formation.

ADDITIONAL TESTING AND DIAGNOSIS

Additional tests may be needed when the finding is first noted. After these tests, your caregiver may request periodic follow-up tests to determine if any changes are occuring. Tests may include:

  • A physical exam.

  • Blood tests.

  • Urine tests.

  • Imaging tests, such as abdominal ultrasonography, computerized X-ray scan (computed tomography, CT), and computerized magnetic scan (MRI).

  • Biopsy.

TREATMENT

Treatment, if any, varies and depends on:

  • The cause.

  • Location.

  • Size.

  • Appearance of the finding.

Treatment will also depend on your age and underlying conditions or symptoms. Treatment may include:

  • Watchful waiting, with periodic examination and testing.

  • Treatments to reduce the size of the mass or abnormality.

  • Surgical removal of the mass or abnormality.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

See your caregiver for follow-up exams as directed. Your caregiver will let you know if this is routine follow-up or if there is a reason for concern. Early detection can be very beneficial to you.

Follow up with your caregiver to find out the results of your tests. Not all test results may be available during your visit. If your test results are not back during the visit, make an appointment with your caregiver to find out the results. Do not assume everything is normal if you have not heard from your caregiver or the medical facility. It is important for you to follow up on all of your test results.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.