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Chest wall – underappreciated structure in sonography. Part II: Non-cancerous lesions

Andrzej Smereczyński, Katarzyna Kołaczyk, Elżbieta Bernatowicz

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2017; 17: 275–280
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2017.0040

The chest wall is a vast and complex structure, hence the wide range of pathological conditions that may affect it. The aim of this publication is to discuss the usefulness of ultrasound for the diagnosis of benign lesions involving the thoracic wall. The most commonly encountered conditions include sternal and costal injuries and thoracic lymphadenopathy. Ultrasound is very efficient in identifying the etiology of pain experienced in the anterior chest wall following CPR interventions. Both available literature and the authors’ own experience prompt us to propose ultrasound evaluation as the first step in the diagnostic workup of chest trauma, as it permits far superior visualization of the examined structures compared with conventional radiography. Sonographic evaluation allows correct diagnosis in the case of various costal and chondral defects suspicious for cancer. It also facilitates diagnosis of such conditions as degenerative lesions, subluxation of sternoclavicular joints (SCJs) and inflammatory lesions of various etiology and location. US may be used as the diagnostic modality of choice in conditions following thoracoscopy or thoracotomy. It may also visualize the fairly common sternal wound infection, including bone inflammation. Slipping rib syndrome, relatively little known among clinicians, has also been discussed in the study. A whole gamut of benign lesions of thoracic soft tissues, such as enlarged lymph nodes, torn muscles, hematomas, abscesses, fissures, scars or foreign bodies, are all easily identified on ultrasound, just like in other superficially located organs.

anomalies, fractures, inflamed ribs, sternum, sternoclavicular joints, scapula