Assessment of bones and soft tissue on chest x-ray

Described below are points to consider on assessment of bones and soft tissue on chest x-ray. 

  • ribs
    • rib fractures
    • lesions (most commonly metastases): may appear as lucent and/or sclerotic; inverting contrast may help in identification
    • previous surgery, e.g. thoracotomy with rib resection
  • vertebrae
    • fractures: compression are common traumatic fracture can be difficult to identify
    • lesions: commonly incidental benign (e.g. hemangioma) and less commonly skeletal metastases
  • pectoral girdle: fractures, distal clavicular erosion, sclerosis
  • soft tissue
    • asymmetric soft tissue may indicate a mastectomy (common), soft tissue mass or Poland syndrome
    • surgical clips, e.g. lobectomy, pneumonectomy, mastectomy, axillary clearance, thyroidectomy
    • subcutaneous emphysema and soft tissue injuries
Share article

Article information

rID: 62202
System: Chest
Section: Approach
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.