Imaging of pleural disease

Clin Chest Med. 2006 Jun;27(2):193-213. doi: 10.1016/j.ccm.2006.02.001.


Imaging plays an important role in the diagnosis and subsequent management of patients with pleural disease. The presence of a pleural abnormality is usually suggested following a routine chest x-ray, with a number of imaging modalities available for further characterization. This article describes the radiographic and cross-sectional appearances of pleural diseases, which are commonly encountered in every day practice. The conditions covered include benign and malignant pleural thickening, pleural effusions, empyema and pneumothoraces. The relative merits of CT, MRI and PET in the assessment of these conditions and the role of image-guided intervention are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mesothelioma / diagnostic imaging
  • Mesothelioma / pathology
  • Pleural Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pleural Diseases / pathology
  • Pleural Effusion / diagnostic imaging
  • Pleural Effusion / pathology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pleural Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / secondary
  • Pneumothorax / diagnostic imaging
  • Pneumothorax / pathology
  • Pulmonary Atelectasis / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Atelectasis / pathology
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed* / methods