Palpable Non-osseous Surface Masses – Evaluation

For palpable non-osseous (non-bony) surface masses with an intact skin coverage, I usually get the following data or characteristics to be used in my evaluation for a clinical diagnosis:

  • Location
  • Discreteness (discrete or non-discrete : obvious or non-obvious)
  • Size (estimate in cm, in its largest diameter)
  • Nature (solid or cystic or complex)
  • Consistency (hard or non-hard – soft or firm)
  • Border (well-defined or ill-defined)
  • Mobility (very movable, movable, fixed)
  • Tenderness (tender or non-tender)
  • Redness (presence or not)

General cues that I use:

  • Presence of redness is a reliable cue for an inflammatory mass.
  • Cystic nature of the mass carries a high probability that the mass is non-malignant or non-cancerous.
  • Well defined border and very movable mass carry a high probability that the mass is non-malignant or non-cancerous.
  • Solid mass with ill-defined border carry a suspicion of a malignant mass.

Algorithm that I usually use:

  • Look for signs of inflammation – if positive, inflammatory mass.  If negative, left with malignant or non-malignant mass.
  • Look for signs of malignancy – if positive, malignant mass.  If negative, left with non-malignant mass.

ROJ-TPOR@16may12

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