Solitary pulmonary nodules

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 05 Mar 2021

Solitary pulmonary nodule (SPN) is defined as a relatively well defined round or oval pulmonary parenchymal lesion equal to or smaller than 30 mm in diameter. It is surrounded by pulmonary parenchyma and/or visceral pleura and is not associated with lymphadenopathy, atelectasis, or pneumonia 9.

Questions to ask when you approach a solitary pulmonary nodule:

  • is the lesion solitary?
  • is it intrapulmonary?
  • is the lesion a nodule?
    • should be a discrete round/oval opacity 4-30 mm in diameter; a lesion >30 mm is defined as a mass, not a nodule
    • should not be linear or angular

There are many causes of solitary pulmonary nodules, including:

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: fat containing
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  • Case 2: pulmonary hamartoma
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  • Case 3: solitary metastasis
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  • Case 4: inflammatory pseudotumor
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