Fetal suprarenal masses – assessing the complementary role of magnetic resonance and ultrasound for diagnosis

Siobhan M. Flanagan, Erika Rubesova, Diego Jaramillo, Richard A. Barth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the value and complementary roles of fetal MRI and US for characterization and diagnosis of suprarenal masses. Materials and methods: We conducted a multi-institutional retrospective database search for prenatally diagnosed suprarenal masses between 1999 and 2012 and evaluated the roles of prenatal US and fetal MRI for characterization and diagnosis, using postnatal diagnosis or surgical pathology as the reference standard. Prenatal US and fetal MRI were assessed for unique findings of each modality. Results: The database yielded 25 fetuses (gestational age 20–37 weeks) with suprarenal masses. Twenty-one fetuses had prenatal US, 22 had MRI, 17 had both. Postnatal diagnoses included nine subdiaphragmatic extralobar sequestrations, seven adrenal hemorrhages, five neuroblastomas (four metastatic), two lymphatic malformations, one duplex kidney with upper pole cystic dysplasia, and one adrenal hyperplasia. Ultrasound was concordant with MRI for diagnoses in 12/17 (70.6%) cases. Discordant diagnoses between US and MRI included three neuroblastomas and two adrenal hemorrhages. In the three neuroblastomas US was equivocal and MRI was definitive for neuroblastoma, demonstrating heterogeneous, intermediate-signal solid masses and liver metastases. In the two cases of adrenal hemorrhage US was equivocal and MRI was definitive with signal characteristics of hemorrhage. In 2/4 neuroblastomas, Doppler US demonstrated a systemic artery suggesting extralobar sequestration; however MRI signal characteristics correctly diagnosed neuroblastoma. All cases of extralobar sequestration were correctly diagnosed by US and MRI. Conclusion: US and MRI both accurately detect suprarenal masses. MRI complements US in equivocal diagnoses and detects additional findings such as liver metastases in neuroblastoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-254
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Fetus
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Mass
  • Prenatal
  • Suprarenal
  • Ultrasound


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