• Imaging Evaluation of the Solitary Pulmonary Nodule

      Van Tassel, Lora; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Korn, Ronald (The University of Arizona., 2012-05-01)
      An estimated 150,000 solitary pulmonary nodules (SPNs) are identified at chest radiography each year, making it important for physicians to understand how to characterize them and evaluate patients for potential malignancy. We performed an extensive literature search to identify risk factors, characteristics of SPNs, and available technologies used to identify and evaluate these nodules through a comprehensive literature search. Additionally, we present evidence-based management schemes for incidentally identified nodules. CONCLUSIONS: A number of features visible at thoracic CT are useful for determining whether an SPN is benign or malignant. FDG PET/CT plays an important role in the diagnosis and management of lung cancer and is an increasingly valuable tool for the characterization and management of SPNs. Unlike CT and MRI imaging, PET provides metabolic activity of a nodule. The information provided by PET/CT imaging allows for both morphological and anatomical characteristics as well as physiological data in the form of metabolism within the nodule itself. The information gained from PET is extremely useful for directing patient management and may obviate the need for invasive diagnostic procedures.