Rapid MR imaging detection of renal cysts: age-based standards

Radiology. 2001 Dec;221(3):628-32. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2213010178.


Purpose: To establish age-based standards for renal cysts depicted at magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and to compare these standards with existing standards for ultrasonography (US).

Materials and methods: Three radiologists reviewed subsecond T2-weighted single-shot fast spin-echo kidney MR imaging findings in 528 patients (248 men, 280 women) selected from consecutive abdominal MR studies without regard to clinical indication. Age, sex, and number and diameter of cysts were noted. Results were analyzed with nonparametric tests and were compared with published US results.

Results: Men (mean, 2.0; 95% CI: 1.5, 2.5) had more renal cysts than women (mean, 1.2; 95% CI: 0.9, 1.5) (P < .001). Number and diameter of cysts increased with age (P < .001). Of 528 patients, 330 (62.5%) had at least one renal cyst, and 315 (59.7%) had cysts of 10 mm or less. MR imaging findings were comparable to published US criteria for type 1 autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) if only cysts larger than 1 cm were considered: Only one subject in the group of 18-29-year-old subjects had at least two renal cysts, and five of 493 subjects aged 30-59 years had at least two cysts in each kidney.

Conclusion: Compared with reported US results, MR imaging depicted an increased number of simple renal cysts in healthy individuals because of its increased sensitivity for cysts smaller than 1 cm. If only simple renal cysts larger than 1 cm are considered, US criteria for type 1 ADPKD can be applied to MR imaging.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases, Cystic / diagnosis*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney / diagnosis
  • Polycystic Kidney, Autosomal Dominant / diagnosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sex Factors