Objective: To determine whether semiautomatic volumetric software can differentiate part-solid from nonsolid pulmonary nodules and aid quantification of the solid component.
Methods: As per reference standard, 115 nodules were differentiated into nonsolid and part-solid by two radiologists; disagreements were adjudicated by a third radiologist. The diameters of solid components were measured manually. Semiautomatic volumetric measurements were used to identify and quantify a possible solid component, using different Hounsfield unit (HU) thresholds. The measurements were compared with the reference standard and manual measurements.
Results: The reference standard detected a solid component in 86 nodules. Diagnosis of a solid component by semiautomatic software depended on the threshold chosen. A threshold of -300 HU resulted in the detection of a solid component in 75 nodules with good sensitivity (90%) and specificity (88%). At a threshold of -130 HU, semiautomatic measurements of the diameter of the solid component (mean 2.4 mm, SD 2.7 mm) were comparable to manual measurements at the mediastinal window setting (mean 2.3 mm, SD 2.5 mm [p = 0.63]).
Conclusion: Semiautomatic segmentation of subsolid nodules could diagnose part-solid nodules and quantify the solid component similar to human observers. Performance depends on the attenuation segmentation thresholds. This method may prove useful in managing subsolid nodules.
Key points: • Semiautomatic segmentation can accurately differentiate nonsolid from part-solid pulmonary nodules • Semiautomatic segmentation can quantify the solid component similar to manual measurements • Semiautomatic segmentation may aid management of subsolid nodules following Fleischner Society recommendations • Performance for the segmentation of subsolid nodules depends on the chosen attenuation thresholds.