MR imaging proves useful in diagnosing some testicular problems

May 05, 2003

If sonography has ambiguous results, MR imaging can help clarify the results and possibly avoid biopsy or surgery for patients who are having testicular problems, a new study shows. Testicular problems can include abnormal growths and inflammatory or congenital conditions, such as undescended testes, says Rahul Gupta, MD, of William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI, and lead author of the study. These conditions can be found in males of all ages including children and elderly adults.

To determine the value of testicular MR imaging as a problem-solving tool, Dr. Gupta and his colleagues studied 33 patients, from 1993 to 2002, who underwent an MR imaging examination after they had undergone a sonogram. "The results suggest that MR imaging is more effective than sonography in classifying large lesions--especially differentiating between tumors or lesions located inside or outside of the testes. In addition, MR imaging was very useful in more precisely localizing the extent of paratesticular lesions, and confirming and/or localizing undescended testes," states Dr. Gupta. MR imaging demonstrated an overall sensitivity of 100%, while ultrasound demonstrated an overall sensitivity of 84% in identifying intra and paratesticular lesions.

Still, Dr. Gupta says there are many reasons why sonography is considered the best tool for initial testing. In addition to its strong sensitivity, positive predictive values, and accuracy, Dr. Gupta says sonography's availability and affordability still place it ahead of MR imaging as an initial tool.

The use of MR imaging as a follow-up to sonography can cut costs and recovery time associated with unnecessary open biopsies or surgical intervention, says Dr. Gupta. Unlike open surgical procedures, Dr. Gupta says MR imaging eliminates the chance of complications such as infection, pain, and bleeding.
The study will be presented May 5, during the American Roentgen Ray Society Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Additional Contact Information:
Danica Laub (703) 858-4332
Keri Sperry (703) 858-4306
Press Room (619) 525-6536 (May 5-8)

American College of Radiology

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