Increases in MRI & PET scans may lead to more incidentalomas: 3 things to know


The increased use of imaging techniques, such as MRI and PET scans, may lead to a spike in incidental abnormalities called incidentalomas, according to a study published in The BMJ.

Here are three things to know:

1. Researchers developed a collection of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of observational studies from Medline and Embase databases that gave a prevalence of incidentalomas.

2. Three of the nine total meta-analyses addressed incidentalomas in spine, cardiac and brain MRI scans.

3. The percentage of patients with a detected incidentaloma for each imaging test was:

• Chest computed tomography — 45 percent
• Computed tomography colonoscopy — 38 percent
• Cardiac MRI — 34 percent
• Spine MRI — 22 percent
• Brain MRI — 22 percent
• PET/computed tomography — 2 percent
• Chest computed tomography for incidental pulmonary embolism — 2 percent

Researchers concluded while computed tomography of the chest lead to incidentalomas, computed tomography colonoscopies and cardiac MRI scans had the highest rate of incidentalomas. Also, there is a large variability across different imaging techniques regarding the prevalence of incidentalomas.

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