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Superficial soft-tissue masses: analysis, diagnosis, and differential considerations.

A wide variety of superficial soft-tissue masses may be seen in clinical practice, but a systematic approach can help achieve a definitive diagnosis or limit a differential diagnosis. Superficial soft-tissue masses can generally be categorized as mesenchymal tumors, skin appendage lesions, metastatic tumors, other tumors and tumorlike lesions, or inflammatory lesions. With regard to their imaging features, these masses may be further divided into lesions that arise in association with the epidermis or dermis (cutaneous lesions), lesions that arise within the substance of the subcutaneous adipose tissue, or lesions that arise in intimate association with the fascia overlying the muscle. The differential diagnosis may be limited further by considering the age of the patient, anatomic location of the lesion, salient imaging features, and clinical manifestations.

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