Intercostal nerve neurilemmoma

Last revised by Patrick O'Shea on 3 Aug 2022

Intercostal nerve neurilemmomas, also known as intercostal nerve schwannoma or neurinoma, are nerve sheath encapsulated tumors affecting intercostal nerves.  

Please refer to the article on schwannomas for a broad discussion about these tumors. 

They account for <10% of primary neural tumors that arise in the chest (majority arise from the mediastinum 3). They occur commonly occur between 20 and 50 years of age 6

Most patients tend to be asymptomatic as lesions are slow-growing 4. Some patients may have pain 7.

Please refer to the general article on schwannomas.

Lesions are usually solid well-circumscribed masses with homogeneous contrast enhancement. They are usually single but can rarely be multiple 4.

Solid nodules iso to slightly hyperdense showing homogeneous enhancement. 

  • T1: iso or slightly hyperintense compared to the adjacent muscles
  • T2: hyperintense compared to the adjacent muscles
  • T1 C+ (Gd): homogenous contrast enhancement

Neurilemmoma is derived from the Greek word eilēma meaning covering, translating to "nerve covering mass".

On imaging consider localized pleural masses including:


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