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Lung diseases

Parenchymal Scarring

05/24/2010

Question:

I recently had a SPECT scan to rule out parathyroid adenoma. An incidental finding was an area of parenchymal scarring. What does this mean and is there a need for followup?

Answer:

SPECT (Single Proton Emission Computed Tomography) Scanning is a radiographic procedure producing 3-D images that show how your organs work. Pictures from your scan may show colors that tell your doctor what areas of your body absorbed more of the radioactive tracer. This information can be helpful in deciding about a number of processes. The images from SPECT include both a radioactive set of images and a traditional set of CT scan images.

You state an interpretation of the testing: An incidental finding was an area of parenchymal scarring. Unfortunately, there is not enough information available for me to comment or speculate about the findings, which may have lead to this conclusion. The conclusion may have been derived only from the CT portion of the test, or from a combination of the radioactive tracer study in addition to the CT.


The possibilities range from benign processes that need no follow up to other processes, which may require further investigation. Parenchymal scarring implies some changes in the lung which was felt to be part of a healing or healed process but again this is not specifically stated within the information submitted.

 

As for most tests, the best rule is to ask the doctor who ordered the test. Ask what the results actually were, what the extent of the abnormalities was, what likely caused the test results and whether additional concerns exist which require further testing or follow-up.

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Response by:

Robert  Schilz, DO, PhD Robert Schilz, DO, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University