Bronchocele, a common but underrecognized condition: a systematic review

Monaldi Arch Chest Dis. 2022 Apr 22;93(1). doi: 10.4081/monaldi.2022.2133.


Bronchocele is an abnormal accumulation of mucus often with associated bronchial dilatation. It can be due to either increased production or impaired drainage of mucus in the airways. Diseases like chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, bronchiectasis are characterized by high mucus production and other atypical conditions are bronchorrhea and plastic bronchitis with different physical characteristics and compositions of mucus. Improper drainage can lead to bronchocele formation due to underlying benign, malignant tumours or bronchial stenosis. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) has a peculiar appearance with high attenuated mucus (HAM) in imaging. Careful evaluation of bronchocele is needed as it can be associated with bronchial obstruction or rare causes like plastic bronchitis. Proper identification, evaluation for the underlying cause is key for not missing the underlying diagnosis and accurate treatment.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillosis, Allergic Bronchopulmonary* / complications
  • Bronchiectasis* / etiology
  • Bronchitis* / complications
  • Bronchitis* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Plastics
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods


  • Plastics