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Lung diseases

Chest X-ray Findings



I recently had a chest x-ray due to having a positive PPD 2 years ago. In the findings, it states that "a clip is seen near the parathachael area of the apex of the chest on the left. This is unchanged from November 2008"

What exactly does that mean? I`ve read about surgical clips but I`m not sure that`s what`s being referred to here. I did have one parathyroid gland removed, but I`m reasonably sure it was after November of 2008 and wouldn`t that be higher than would be seen in a chest x-ray?.


The trachea is the main windpipe that leads from the back of the mouth to the lungs. “Paratracheal” means next to the trachea. The apex of the chest is the very top part of the lungs. This is the general area where the thyroid gland and the parathyroid glands are, so it is possible that a metal clip from parathyroid surgery could be in this location.

Metal clips are used to pinch off blood vessels during surgery to control bleeding and are commonly used in many types of surgery. On x-rays, they resemble small metal staples used to staple papers together. They do not cause problems long term and can be left in the body indefinitely. The best way to determine if the clip is from the surgery is to obtain a copy of the operative note (or contact the surgeon who performed your surgery). This will tell you when the surgery was performed relative to the x-ray and will tell you if the surgeon used a surgical clip.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University