[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Owing to the widespread use of abdominal imaging studies the detection rate of solid renal masses has increased, and an accurate characterisation of imaging features of renal masses has become more essential for case management. METHOD AND RESULTS: MR imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) are frequently used modalities for detection and differentiation of renal masses. This article gives a review of imaging characteristics of benign and malignant renal masses, discussing their appearance in CT and MR imaging. Advanced MR techniques like diffusion-weighted imaging and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) mapping, which have shown promising results in the differentiation between benign and malignant renal lesions, will be introduced. CONCLUSION: MRI and CT are useful in the characterisation and estimation of the prognosis for renal masses.