Imaging of musculoskeletal fibromatosis

Radiographics. 2001 May-Jun;21(3):585-600. doi: 10.1148/radiographics.21.3.g01ma21585.


The musculoskeletal fibromatoses comprise a wide range of lesions with a common histopathologic appearance. They can be divided into two major groups: superficial and deep. The superficial fibromatoses are typically small, slow-growing lesions and include palmar fibromatosis, plantar fibromatosis, juvenile aponeurotic fibroma, and infantile digital fibroma. The deep fibromatoses are commonly large, may grow rapidly, and are more aggressive. They include infantile myofibromatosis, fibromatosis colli, extraabdominal desmoid tumor, and aggressive infantile fibromatosis. Radiographs typically reveal a nonspecific soft-tissue mass, and calcification is common only in juvenile aponeurotic fibroma. Advanced imaging (ultrasonography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance [MR] imaging) demonstrates lesion extent. Involvement of adjacent structures is common, reflecting the infiltrative growth pattern often seen in these lesions. MR imaging may show characteristic features of prominent low to intermediate signal intensity and bands of low signal intensity representing highly collagenized tissue. However, fibromatoses with less collagen and more cellularity may have nonspecific high signal intensity on T2-weighted images. Local recurrence is frequent after surgical resection due to the aggressive lesion growth. It is important for radiologists to recognize the imaging characteristics of musculoskeletal fibromatoses to help guide the often difficult and protracted therapy and management of these lesions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Fibroma / diagnosis*
  • Fibroma / pathology
  • Fibroma / therapy
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Planning
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / pathology
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / therapy