(DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING) -- The use of renal mass biopsy to guide treatment decisions for small renal tumors is cost-effective relative to direct surgery, and can spare many patients unnecessary surgical procedures, according to Massachusetts General Hospital researchers. Most small renal masses are detected incidentally in imaging and their current treatment is direct surgery, said lead researcher Dr. Pari Pandharipande, a radiologist in the abdominal imaging and interventional radiology department at MGH. Many small renal masses, however, are benign—or indolent if they are malignant—and so less invasive management strategies should be considered, she said during a presentation at the RSNA meeting. After constructing a decision-analytic Markov model, the researchers determined surgery was about $3500 more expensive than biopsy and resulted in a comparable minimally lower life expectancy. Biopsy therefore dominated surgery from a cost-effectiveness perspective.
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