ACR Appropriateness Criteria® Soft Tissue Masses: 2022 Update

Expert Panel on Musculoskeletal Imaging:, Hillary W. Garner, Daniel E. Wessell, Leon Lenchik, Shivani Ahlawat, Jonathan C. Baker, James Banks, Jennifer L. Demertzis, Bryan S. Moon, Jennifer L. Pierce, Jinel A. Scott, Neema K. Sharda, Devaki Shilpa Surasi, Michael Temporal, Eric Y. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Imaging should be performed in patients with a suspected soft tissue mass that cannot be clinically confirmed as benign. Imaging provides essential information necessary for diagnosis, local staging, and biopsy planning. Although the modalities available for imaging of musculoskeletal masses have undergone progressive technological advancements in recent years, their overall purpose in the setting of a soft tissue mass remains unchanged. This document identifies the most common clinical scenarios related to soft tissue masses and the most appropriate imaging for their assessment on the basis of the current literature. It also provides general guidance for those scenarios that are not specifically addressed. The American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed annually by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guideline development and revision process support the systematic analysis of the medical literature from peer reviewed journals. Established methodology principles such as Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation or GRADE are adapted to evaluate the evidence. The RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method User Manual provides the methodology to determine the appropriateness of imaging and treatment procedures for specific clinical scenarios. In those instances where peer reviewed literature is lacking or equivocal, experts may be the primary evidentiary source available to formulate a recommendation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S234-S245
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


  • AUC
  • Appropriate Use Criteria
  • Appropriateness Criteria
  • Imaging
  • Mass
  • Neoplasm
  • Soft tissue
  • Tumor


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