Skin fold artifact

The skin fold artifact can mimic a pneumothorax and is caused by the added density of a skin fold against the film appears as a broad opacity laterally, outlined by a lucent line (Mach band effect) 2.

Radiographic features

Plain radiograph

The following features can help differentiate a skin fold from a pneumothorax:

  • visceral pleural is thin and sharp in contrast to broad skin fold
  • a skin fold does not follow the expected course of the pleura
  • increased peripheral lucency is present in pneumothorax 
  • pneumothorax results in absent bronchovascular markings beyond the lung edge

Article information

rID: 79552
System: Chest
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • False pneumothorax
  • Pseudopneumothorax

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: right lower zone
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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