Despite the limitations of US in providing a complete evaluation of renal tumors before treatment planning, initial screening, characterization of renal masses and staging of RCCs can benefit from some recent advances of the technique. One of the most relevant clinical benefits of US is the increased early detection of RCCs. Recent technical improvement of gray-scale imaging has increased US performance in the detection of small renal tumors. Combined gray-scale and color Doppler US findings may strongly suggest the histopathologic nature of a renal tumor with respect to the size, the US attenuation characteristics, and the vascular distribution of the lesion. Ultrasound contributes additional diagnostic information for differential diagnosis of some renal masses that remain equivocal at CT, including: atypical cystic lesions; solid renal tumors with poor vascularity; and angiomyolipomas with minimal fat component. Ultrasound also may provide additional diagnostic information over CT in selected cases of RCCs with venous invasion. In addition to some diagnostic and therapeutic procedures that can benefit from US guidance, intraoperative US remains the only available tool that enables to ensure renal-parenchymal-sparing surgery.
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