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Hounsfield Units and Disappearing Devils

Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2017

After a recent US for an unrelated issue I was referred for a CT due to a complex cyst on the left kidney. I have received the report from the CT scan and I believe everything looks okay. The report indicates nothing at all about the left kidney (the cyst in question from the US) but advises that there is a small cyst (no clarification on simple or complex) on the right kidney. "Right kidney superior pole 1.1 x 1.2 cm hypodense lesion shows 13 Hounsfield units average density, compatible with fluid attenuation" From what I've read this seems to mean it enhanced a little (between 10 and 20 HU is kind of a gray area)  but will probably just be something to watch. I'll wait to hear from my doc before I celebrate but feel pretty good! Of course, I am curious about the "disappeared" left kidney cyst, is this normal for cyst to come and go? The first time I went through this (about a year and a half ago on the right kidney) it was an almost 3cm "mass" that disappeared when they did the CT (even the US tech was perplexed) and now a cyst. I was just wondering if this has happened to anyone else? I'm also wondering about the Bosniak Classification mentioned above - the radiologist didn't mention anything about that. Thoughts?

Glidergal365's picture
Posts: 93
Joined: Feb 2018

Hi Mick70. I had an US for what I thought was Gallbladder (turned out fine) and they found a 3x3 mass on the lower right pole that they couldn't tell what it was. Also noted something on the upper left kidney. Went for CT and nothing showed on the left and the right it only enhanced 15 HU. The radiologist (who is my hero) labled it a Bosniak IIF. The urologist didn't think it needed to be followed and was probably benign. But because of the radiologist we did a 6 month rescan. It grew 1.5cm in that 6 month time span, it also only enhanced 25 HU. Had a simple nephrectomy 3 months ago and it was papillary RCC, which typically don't enhance well. If it hadn't been a faster growing one it could have been completely dismissed by the urologist. I would keep asking questions and if you don't feel comfortable seek a second opinion. I'm being followed by a local oncologist even though I was stage T1b NoMo because I don't trust the surgeon. He was also dismissive of follow up past a 6 month CT. In the end we are our own best advocates. Just watch out for Dr Google :) I did read the most recent medical journal info I could find about CT's and HU's and how they use Bosniak. I'm in the medical field so it makes sense to me, I imagine it would be more difficult for someone who doesn't have 20 years medical terminology. Good luck and keep us posted!


Posts: 7
Joined: Nov 2017

Thank you for sharing. Helping to care for elderly parents and navigating the medical field is def. teaching me the need to advocate. I find that google can be helpful if used appropriately - meaning I generally research the medical terms I'm unsure of and I stay away from questionable Q&A sites and limiting my rearch to legitimate medical sites and recommended sites such as this one. I appreciate your sharing your story, it does remind to stay on top of it things.  Besides the slight elevated HU everything seems good but I will talk with my doctor at my next appt. and probably ask for another ultrasound in about six months or so.  


Gtngbtr58 @aol.com's picture
Gtngbtr58 @aol.com
Posts: 206
Joined: Oct 2017

Much about disappearing masses-(wish they all did)- but just keep  top of it-never too many questionts asked when it comes to your health.  You are your own best friend and advocate-good luck -June

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