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MR and CT Imaging of Orbital Tumors

Nguyen, Cheri P. MD; An, Jane MD; Fox, Lindsay MD; Hicks, Richard J. MD; Li, Shan MD

Contemporary Diagnostic Radiology:
doi: 10.1097/01.CDR.0000442007.68986.ce

The orbit is a complex structure, composed of multiple components including bone, muscle, globes, vessels, and nerves. Orbital tumors are uncommon, but unfortunately they frequently are overlooked, especially when the orbits are included as part of a head CT performed for other indications. Orbital tumors vary in type and location. They can be confined within a single structure or cross boundaries to involve multiple structures. The most common clinical presentation of orbital neoplasms is unilateral proptosis. The purpose of this article is to review the anatomy of the orbit and its contents; to describe a systematic search pattern from an anatomic approach that can be used for the detection of orbital tumors; to illustrate the characteristic MR and CT imaging features of a spectrum of benign and malignant orbital tumors; and to discuss their individual clinical presentations, etiologies, and treatments.

Author Information

Drs. Nguyen, An, and Fox are Radiology Residents, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts; Dr. Hicks is Chief of Neuroradiology and MRI at Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts, and Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts; and Dr. Li is Neuroradiologist at Baystate Medical Center, 759 Chestnut Street, Springfield, MA 01199, and Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts; E-mail:

This issue of CDR will qualify for 2 ABR Self-Assessment Module (SAM) credits. See page 8 for more information.

This module meets the American Board of Radiology's (ABR's) criteria for self-assessment toward the purpose of fulfilling requirements in the ABR Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program.

Please note that in addition to the SAM credit, subscribers completing the activity will receive the usual ACCME credit.

After participating in this activity, the diagnostic radiologist should be better able to formulate an organized search pattern for orbital lesions via an anatomic approach, to identify the characteristic MR and CT imaging features of benign and malignant orbital tumors, and to discuss the pertinent etiology, epidemiology, and treatment of each tumor.

All authors and staff in a position to control the content of this CME activity and their spouses/life partners (if any) have disclosed that they have no relationships with, or financial interests in, any commercial organizations pertaining to this educational activity.

Lippincott Continuing Medical Education Institute, Inc., is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Lippincott Continuing Medical Education Institute, Inc., designates this enduring material for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. To earn CME credit, you must read the CME article and complete the quiz and evaluation on the enclosed answer form, answering at least seven of the 10 quiz questions correctly. This continuing medical education activity expires on April 18, 2014.

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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