Diagnostic and Imaging Approaches to Chest Wall Lesions

Joseph Mansour, Demetrios Raptis, Sanjeev Bhalla, Allen P. Heeger, Gerald F. Abbott, Nadeem Parkar, Mark M. Hammer, Julia Kiernan, Constantine Raptis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chest wall lesions are relatively uncommon and may be chal-lenging once they are encountered on images. Radiologists may detect these lesions incidentally at examinations performed for other indications, or they may be asked specifically to evaluate a suspicious lesion. While many chest wall lesions have characteristic imaging findings that can result in an accurate diagnosis with use of imaging alone, other entities are difficult to dis-tinguish at imaging because there is significant overlap among them. The interpreting radiologist should be familiar with the imaging features of both “do not touch” benign entities (which can be confidently diagnosed with imaging only, with no need for biopsy or resection unless the patient is symptomatic) and lesions that cannot be confidently characterized and thus require further workup. CT and MRI are the main imaging modalities used to assess the chest wall, with each having different benefits and drawbacks. Chest wall lesions can be classified according to their predominant composition: fat, calcification and ossifica-tion, soft tissue, or fluid. The identification or predominance of signal intensities or attenuation for these findings, along with the patient age, clinical history, and lesion location, can help estab-lish the appropriate differential diagnosis. In addition, imaging findings in other organs, such as the lungs or upper abdomen, can at times provide clues to the underlying diagnosis. The authors review different chest wall lesions classified on the basis of their composition and highlight the imaging findings that can assist the radiologist in narrowing the differential diagnosis and guiding management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-378
Number of pages20
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


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