Extrapleural fat

Case contributed by Dr Cedric Bohyn


Chest pain

Patient Data

Age: 70 years
Gender: Female

At the level of the lateral arch of the right 5th - 8th rib, there is an intrathoracic pleural based fusiform well-delineated soft tissue shadow with medial displacement/bulging of the parietal pleura. Mildly increased size of the heart shadow, otherwise unremarkable chest x-ray.


The right-sided intrathoracic extrapleural structure, seen as pleural widening on the chest x-ray, corresponds to normal fat tissue located between the chest wall and parietal pleura and therefore represents extrapleural fat deposition.

Annotated image

The right-sided extrapleural fat is highlighted in green.

Case Discussion

Extrapleural fat can occur anywhere along the chest wall and might mimic pleural thickening or effusion. It is most often seen at the level of the 4th - 8th ribs 1, as seen in this case.

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Case information

rID: 81376
Published: 5th Sep 2020
Last edited: 5th Sep 2020
System: Chest
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included
Institution: KU Leuven