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Sonographic features of soft tissue tumors in the hand and forearm

Ju-Wen Cheng, Simon F T Tang, Tung-Yang Yu, Shih-Wei Chou, Alice M K Wong, Wen-Chung Tsai
Chang Gung Medical Journal 2007, 30 (6): 547-54

BACKGROUND: High-resolution sonography is well suited for screening soft tissue masses because of its safety, low cost, and real-time, dynamic imaging. The purpose of our study was to elaborate the preoperative sonographic features of soft tissue tumors of the hand and forearm and the corresponding histologic results.

METHODS: Thirty-one soft tissue tumors of the hand and forearm were evaluated by ultrasound preoperatively. The mobility, consistency, echogenicity, margin, and color Doppler signal of each tumor were assessed. Dynamic study was also performed. The pathologic diagnosis was obtained after subsequent surgery.

RESULTS: The pathologic diagnoses of these soft tissue lesions were lipoma (n = 6), ganglion cyst (n = 6), neurilemmoma (n = 3), neurofibroma (n = 3), giant cell tumor (n = 10), tenosynovitis (n = 2), and malignant lymphoma (n = 1). An adjacent tendon or communication duct extending to the joint space could be found in most giant cell tumors and ganglion cysts; a traceable nerve could be found in most nerve sheath tumors. All benign tumors appeared well-defined. The only malignant tumor appeared ill-defined without a color Doppler signal.

CONCLUSION: Sonography enables a reliable diagnosis of the cystic or solid nature of soft-tissue lesions, accurate estimation of the volume, and precise three-dimensional localization of the abnormality. Examiners should perform a dynamic examination and trace the adjacent structure to obtain more diagnostic clues.

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