The authors summarize the current applications of chest ultrasonography in the diagnosis and management of various pleural diseases. Ultrasound has been proved to be valuable for the evaluation of a wide variety of chest diseases, particularly when the pleural cavity is involved. Chest ultrasound can supplement other imaging modalities of the chest and guides a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Pleural effusion, pleural thickening, pleural tumors, tumor extension into the pleura and even the chest wall, pleuritis, and pneumothorax can be detected easily and accurately with chest ultrasound. Many ultrasound features and signs of these diseases have been well characterized and widely applied in clinical practice. Under real-time ultrasound guidance the success rates of invasive procedures on pleural diseases increase significantly whereas the risks are greatly reduced. The advantages of low-cost, bedside availability and no radiation exposure have made ultrasound an indispensable diagnostic tool in modern pulmonary medicine.