Thin-section CT of the secondary pulmonary lobule: anatomy and the image--the 2004 Fleischner lecture

Radiology. 2006 May;239(2):322-38. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2392041968. Epub 2006 Mar 16.


The secondary pulmonary lobule is a fundamental unit of lung structure, and it reproduces the lung in miniature. Airways, pulmonary arteries, veins, lymphatics, and the lung interstitium are all represented at the level of the secondary lobule. Several of these components of the secondary lobule are normally visible on thin-section computed tomographic (CT) scans of the lung. The recognition of lung abnormalities relative to the structures of the secondary lobule is fundamental to the interpretation of thin-section CT scans. Pathologic alterations in secondary lobular anatomy visible on thin-section CT scans include interlobular septal thickening and diseases with peripheral lobular distribution, centrilobular abnormalities, and panlobular abnormalities. The differential diagnosis of lobular abnormalities is based on comparisons between lobular anatomy and lung pathology.

Publication types

  • Lecture

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lung / abnormalities
  • Lung / anatomy & histology*
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lung Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*