Imaging of the solitary pulmonary nodule
The solitary pulmonary nodule continues to be a common finding on radiographic studies. In order to determine etiology, diagnostic evaluation begins with comparison with old films in an attempt to demonstrate at least 2-year stability. If this cannot be established, then additional studies including computed tomography or positron emission tomography imaging are often performed to distinguish a benign lesion from a malignant one. If a specific benign diagnosis cannot made, management options for radiographically indeterminate nodules include percutaneous biopsy, surgical resection, or observation. Treatment decisions are often complex and depend on a number of factors, including radiographic appearance, presenting symptoms, clinical status, and past medical history.
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