Abdominal Radiology

, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 1586–1605 | Cite as

The incidental bone lesion on computed tomography: management tips for abdominal radiologists

  • Michelle Nguyen
  • Christopher Beaulieu
  • Stefanie Weinstein
  • Lewis K. ShinEmail author
Pictorial Essay


Incidental bone lesions are commonly seen on abdominal and pelvic computed tomography (CT) examinations. These incidental bone lesions can be diagnostically challenging to the abdominal radiologist who may not be familiar with their appearance or their appropriate management. The characterization of such bone lesions as non-aggressive or aggressive based on their CT appearance involves similar principles to their morphologic evaluation on radiographs. Knowledge of the age of the patient and the presence of symptoms, mainly bone pain, can improve analysis. Examples of bone lesions that may be encountered include solitary or multifocal bone lesions, osteochondromatous and chondroid tumors, Paget’s disease, avascular necrosis/bone infarctions, iatrogenic lesions, and periarticular lesions. This pictorial essay aims to provide a framework for the analysis of incidental bone lesions on CT and when further imaging and clinical work-up should be recommended.


Computed tomography Incidental findings Bone lesions Musculoskeletal CT 


Compliance with ethical standards


No funding was received for this study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Statement of informed consent was not applicable since the manuscript does not contain any patient data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Nguyen
    • 1
  • Christopher Beaulieu
    • 2
  • Stefanie Weinstein
    • 3
    • 4
  • Lewis K. Shin
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyVA Palo Alto Health Care SystemPalo AltoUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  3. 3.Department of Radiology and Biomedical ImagingUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.Department of RadiologySan Francisco VA Medical CenterSan FranciscoUSA

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