December 27, 2008

Pulmonary Laceration

Fig. Axial CT image shows a 'hole' in the lung with air-fluid level (arrow), surrounded by ground glass opacity (arrowheads) in a trauma patient. Findings represent pulmonary laceration surrounded by contusion.


  • Laceration in the lung tissue results in a 'hole' instead of a linear tear because of elastic recoil of the lungs stretching the tear.
  • Most lacerations in an acute phase contain blood and air (hematopneumatocele).
  • Most lacerations are surrounded by contusion.
  • Four types of lung laceration include compression rupture (central location), compression shear (paravertebral), rib penetration tear (near rib fracture) and tear associated with underlying lung fibrosis.
  • Most common type of pulmonary laceration is a compression rupture tear.
This patient had a compression-shear pulmonary laceration.

Kaewlai et al. MDCT of blunt thoracic trauma. RadioGraphics 2008 (October)

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