Imaging of renal leiomyomas

L. E. Derchi, N. Grenier, G. Heinz-Peer, V. Dogra, F. Franco, G. A. Rollandi, C. Deminiere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Renal leiomyomas are rare benign tumors of the kidney which can be found at autopsy as small capsular nodules in about 5% of cases. The clinical incidence of such lesions is much smaller, and only case reports or small series have been reported in the imaging literature. Purpose: To describe the imaging characteristics observed in a series of eight patients with pathology-proven asymptomatic leiomyomas of the kidney. Material and Methods: We reviewed the imaging findings observed in eight patients with pathologically proven asymptomatic renal leiomyomas discovered during studies performed for reasons unrelated to the kidney. All patients had undergone computed tomography (CT), two ultrasonography, and one magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Results: Lesions ranged in size from 1.2 to 13 cm. Six were at the periphery of the kidney, compressed its outer surface, but did not cause disruption of the cortex; two involved the renal cortex. All had regular outer margins. A cleavage plane between the tumor and the kidney was revealed at CT and/or ultrasonography in three of the cases located at the periphery. At ultrasonography, leiomyomas appeared hypoechogenic. At CT, they were slightly hyperdense before contrast medium injection; all were hypodense to the renal cortex after contrast medium. Four were homogeneous, two were slightly heterogeneous, and the remaining two were frankly heterogeneous. The lesion studied by MRI, which was homogeneous at the postcontrast CT study, had a heterogeneous structure on both T1- and T2-weighted images, with internal areas of hypointensity on T1. Conclusion: There are some imaging findings that can help to suggest the diagnosis of renal leiomyomas. First, their density: all tumors examined before contrast were hyperdense to the kidney, with density similar to that of muscles, and all had lower enhancement than the adjacent renal parenchyma. Second, the location and margins of the tumors: most were peripheral, without involvement of the renal cortex and with well-defined margins. Although not pathognomonic for a renal leiomyoma, the combination of these findings should include leiomyoma in the list of differential diagnoses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-838
Number of pages6
JournalActa Radiologica
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • CT
  • Kidney
  • Leiomyoma
  • MRI
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Medicine(all)


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