Tumoral calcinosis: pearls, polemics, and alternative possibilities

Radiographics. 2006 May-Jun;26(3):871-85. doi: 10.1148/rg.263055099.


Massive periarticular calcinosis of the soft tissues is a unique but not rare radiographic finding. On the contrary, tumoral calcinosis is a rare familial disease. Unfortunately, the term tumoral calcinosis has been liberally and imprecisely used to describe any massive collection of periarticular calcification, although this term actually refers to a hereditary condition associated with massive periarticular calcification. The inconsistent use of this term has created confusion throughout the literature. More important, if the radiologist is unfamiliar with tumoral calcinosis or disease processes that mimic this condition, then diagnosis could be impeded, treatment could be delayed, and undue alarm could be raised, possibly leading to unwarranted surgical procedures. The soft-tissue lesions of tumoral calcinosis are typically lobulated, well-demarcated calcifications that are most often distributed along the extensor surfaces of large joints. There are many conditions with similar appearances, including the calcinosis of chronic renal failure, calcinosis universalis, calcinosis circumscripta, calcific tendonitis, synovial osteochondromatosis, synovial sarcoma, osteosarcoma, myositis ossificans, tophaceous gout, and calcific myonecrosis. The radiologist plays a critical role in avoiding unnecessary invasive procedures and in guiding the selection of appropriate tests that can result in a conclusive diagnosis of tumoral calcinosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcinosis / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Precancerous Conditions / diagnosis*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*