How is the cause of pulmonary nodules diagnosed?
If the physician suspects a pulmonary nodule, they will perform a physical examination and order tests to confirm the diagnosis. Some of the tests include
- Bronchoscopy, including advanced guided techniques such as
- endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS)
- electromagnetic navigational bronchoscopy (ENB)
- Computed tomography?(CT) scan
- Image-guided sampling techniques that include CT-guided and ultrasound-guided biopsies (fine needle aspiration biopsy or FNA)
- Magnetic resonance imaging?(MRI)
- Minimally invasive lung biopsy (thoracoscopic or robotic)
- Positron emission tomography?(PET)
- Pulmonary function studies (PFT)
Depending on the features and size of the lung nodule on the CT scan, the physicians may also recommend
- Observing and repeating X-ray tests if the nodule is probably benign.
- Further imaging, such as a repeat CT scan of your chest or a PET scan.
- Taking a biopsy of the nodule via
- bronchoscopy (if the nodule is near one of your airways)
- a needle biopsy (if the nodule is located near the outside of your lungs)
- lung surgery (video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery) if the nodule seems to be cancerous