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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Ct scan showed nodules in middle lobe, mild subsegmental atelectasis. Should I be concerned?

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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 10547 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 5 Feb 2013 in Lung Cancer
Question: I recently went to the emergency room thinking I had kidney stones because the pain was similar to when I had had them before. A CT of the abdomen was done and showed no stones. The doctor said I had probably pulled a muscle. It is several days later, and the pain actually subsided that same day, and I am now feeling fine. However, after reading the impresssion report of the CT scan,, it read XXXXXXX Nonspecific nearby nodules (may be infectious) in right middle lobe. There are mild subsegmental atelectatic changes in right middle lobe, inferior left lingula and in both posterior lower lungs XXXXXXX The doctor never mentioned this to me. Should I be concerned? I read this after I came home and am now in a panic.
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Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 2 hours later
Hi, thanks for using healthcare magic

Lung nodules are often found as an accidental finding. They can be solitary or multiple, benign or malignant.
Lung nodules can occur as a result of infection (as suggested in your CT report), inflammation (conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis), due to benign tumors or due to malignant tumors.
Multiple lung nodules are more likely to be malignant if they are greater than 1 cm in size, however the radiographer here did not note a size.
If they are detected incidentally (as yours were), are less than 5 mm in size, near the pleura (the lining of the lung) or a fissure- they are more likely to be due to a benign cause such as infection, inflammatory tissue or lymph node

Atelectasis is collapse of the lung. In your case it was described as mild, this can occur in a number of different scenarios, one of which is infection.

The nodules and collapse in the right lung may be secondary to infection but to determine this your doctor may consider repeating the CT scan in 2 to 3 weeks to see if the original findings have resolved. During this time period your doctor may consider placing you on antibiotics to treat a possible infection and the use of physiotherapy methods to help the lung to re expand.
If they have not resolved by 2 to 3 weeks after apppropriate treatment they would consider biopsy of the lesions.

I hope this helps, feel free to ask any additional questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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