Applications of Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Thorax in Pleural Diseases: A State-of-the-Art Review

Lung. 2016 Aug;194(4):501-9. doi: 10.1007/s00408-016-9909-9. Epub 2016 Jun 14.


The aim of this review was to present the main aspects of pleural diseases seen with conventional and advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques. This modality is considered to be the gold standard for the evaluation of the pleural interface, characterization of complex pleural effusion, and identification of exudate and hemorrhage, as well as in the analysis of superior sulcus tumors, as it enables more accurate staging. The indication for MRI of the thorax in the identification of these conditions is increasing in comparison to computerized tomography, and it can also be used to support the diagnosis of pulmonary illnesses. This literature review describes the morphological and functional aspects of the main benign and malignant pleural diseases assessed with MRI, including mesothelioma, metastasis, lymphoma, fibroma, lipoma, endometriosis, asbestos-related pleural disease, empyema, textiloma, and splenosis.

Keywords: Magnetic resonance imaging; Mesothelioma; Pleural diseases; Pleural metastasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Empyema / diagnostic imaging
  • Endometriosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Fibroma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pleural Effusion / diagnostic imaging
  • Pleural Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Splenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Thorax / diagnostic imaging