Centrilobular lung nodules

Last revised by Joshua Yap on 20 Jul 2022

Centrilobular lung nodules refer to a HRCT chest imaging descriptor for small 5-10 mm lung nodules which are anatomically located centrally within secondary pulmonary lobules. The term is applied on the basis of location of the nodule and not its morphology, that is they may be well-defined or poorly-defined ground glass in appearance. If extremely small they are termed centrilobular micronodules.

Centrilobular nodules can be observed in a wide variety of lung pathology. They are usually seen with bronchiolitis (i.e. with bronchiolar or peribronchiolar abnormalities). Specific conditions include:

When centrilobular nodules are interspersed with linear and branching densities, it is then termed a tree-in-bud pattern.

On HRCT chest, centrilobular nodules are typically found around the small airways and spare the subpleural surfaces. They are typically at least 5-10 mm away from the pleural surfaces ref.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: secondary lobule
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  • Figure 2
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  • Case 1: tree in bud - endobronchial TB
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  • Case 2: excipient lung disease
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