What Does Unremarkable Mean in Medical Terms?

Unremarkable is a term that can be found in radiology reports of all kinds.  From X-rays all the way to advanced imaging modalities like CT and MRI.  Unremarkable can be used in the body or conclusion of the report.  Unremarkable may be used multiple times in a report referring to organs, structures, and even the entire test.

Unremarkable Meaning

Unremarkable means that there is nothing to say about the organ or structure.   We do not see anything abnormal when we say that the liver or ovaries are unremarkable.

While we may not see anything abnormal, that does not mean there is nothing abnormal with the organ or structure.   There may be an abnormality in the function or structure that the imaging test does not reveal.   Saying normal on an imaging test may therefore not be as accurate.

We can use unremarkable in CT or MRI reports as well.  This means the same thing as in other tests.  This means we do not see anything to say about a structure, organ or the entire test.   But the results may not necessarily mean that everything is normal.  Imaging tests can not identify every abnormality.

Is unremarkable good or bad in a report?

Unremarkable is a good thing in a radiology report.  There is no structural abnormality that the radiologist noted.  Again, this does not rule out every abnormality of the organ or structure.  Just that one is not seen on the imaging test.

What does grossly unremarkable mean?

As opposed to unremarkable, we may sometimes see the term grossly unremarkable used in radiology reports.  Grossly unremarkable means that we do not see anything obvious but the exam may be limited for that organ or structure in some way.

For example, CT is not the best test test to look at the gallbladder.  Ultrasound is better to look for stones and other abnormalities.  We may therefore say that the gallbladder is grossly unremarkable on CT.

Another example is soft tissues are grossly unremarkable on an X-ray.  X-rays are not great at evaluating the soft tissues.  By soft tissues, we mean everything but the bones.  So we may say the soft tissues are grossly unremarkable.  We do not see anything obvious but this does not necessarily mean everything is ok.

Unremarkable and grossly unremarkable are therefore common terms used in radiology reports.  They are essentially another way for the radiologist to say that there is no abnormality seen on the imaging test.  There is nothing to say about the structure, organ or entire test since everything falls in the range of normal.

Does unremarkable mean the same as normal?

Unremarkable does not mean that everything is normal however.  Another test may show an abnormality.  Imaging tests do not identify every abnormality.  Some abnormalities are detected with blood tests, history, physical exam, biopsy, and other testing.  It is therefore important to have a complete workup of any problems and symptoms in addition to imaging tests.  Your clinical doctor will direct the workup of any problems you may have.


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