Imaging study for a suspected musculoskeletal tumor

Which imaging study should be ordered first for the evaluation of a suspected musculoskeletal tumor?

Radiographs are the first step in detecting and diagnosing a bone tumor.

Here is the list of the radiographic features to assess for bone tumors. Radiographs should also be obtained first with suspected soft tissue tumors to identify possible underlying bone involvement or the presence of calcifications.

Radiographic Features to Assess for Bone Tumors

  • • Morphologic features and pattern of bone destruction, including zone of transition
  • • Periosteal reaction
  • • Location in the bone and distribution in the skeleton
  • • Presence of tumor matrix
  • • Presence of a soft tissue mass

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