Bosniak classification

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Bosniak classification

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


The Bosniak classification system was designed to separate cystic renal masses into surgical and nonsurgical categories by analysis of specific CT features.

Category I

Category I lesions are simple benign cysts showing homogeneity, water content, and a sharp interface with adjacent renal parenchyma, with no wall thickening, calcification, or enhancement.

Category II

This category consists of cystic lesions with one or two thin (<=1 mm thick) septations or thin, fine calcification in their walls or septa (wall thickening > 1 mm advances the lesion into surgical category III) and hyperdense benign cysts with all the features of category I cysts except for homogeneously high attenuation. A benign category II lesion must be 3 cm or less in diameter, have one quarter of its wall extending outside the kidney so the wall can be assessed, and be nonenhancing after contrast material is administered.

Category IIF

This category consists of minimally complicated cysts that need follow-up. This is a group not well defined by Bosniak but consists of lesions that do not neatly fall into category II. These lesions have some suspicious features that deserve follow-up to detect any change in character.

Category III

Category III consists of true indeterminate cystic masses that need surgical evaluation, although many prove to be benign. They may show uniform wall thickening, nodularity, thick or irregular peripheral calcification, or a multilocular nature with multiple enhancing septa. Hyperdense lesions that do not fulfill category II criteria are included in this group.

Category IV

These are lesions with a nonuniform or enhancing thick wall, enhancing or large nodules in the wall, or clearly solid components in the cystic lesion. Enhancement was considered present when lesion components increased by at least 10 H.

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