A renal sonogram is effective at showing tumors or lesions, states the Kidney Cancer Institute. Tumors are associated with different echo patterns that help doctors to determine if tumors are present in the kidneys and whether they are potentially benign or malignant, according to the American Cancer Society.
While sonography can confirm the presence of tumors or lesions in the kidneys, it is not as sensitive or specific as MRI or CT, and the images it yields are not as sharp, states Radiopaedia.org. Sonography also cannot confirm whether a tumor is benign or malignant. Consequently, doctors may occasionally use MRIs, CTs and blood tests in conjunction with sonography to accurately characterize kidney tumors, according to the Kidney Cancer Institute.
For example, sonography can indicate whether a kidney mass is filled with fluid or solid, states the American Cancer Society. Cancerous tumors are typically solid, whereas cysts are usually fluid-filled and benign, according to Da Vinci Surgery. If sonogram results confirm the presence of a solid kidney mass, a doctor may conduct other imaging studies and tests to determine whether the mass is benign or malignant, the Kidney Cancer Institute explains.
Doctors often use the words "mass," "tumor" and "lesion" interchangeably when discussing physical anomalies within the kidney and malignancies that have spread to other regions of the body, according to Da Vinci Surgery. A sonogram is also helpful in detecting the spread of these growths, but it is usually one of several imaging studies and tests that doctors utilize for this purpose.