August 19, 2023

What Are the Different Types of Linear Opacities in Lungs?

A radiology scan of your lungs might show a pattern called linear opacities. This means that fluids or damaged tissue are accumulating in the lobes of the lungs. The opacities are not a specific diagnosis, but they do provide your doctor with valuable information and help him decide on the next steps in your treatment. There are many different types of opacities that can occur in the lungs, and each one indicates a different condition. Your doctor will use the size, shape, and location of the opacities along with everything else he knows about you to arrive at a diagnosis.

What Are the Different Types of Linear Opacities in Lungs?

The opacity patterns found on HRCT can be divided into multiple categories, including reticular, centrilobular, mosaic, and ground glass. The reticular pattern appears as a network of lines that cross each other and has a honeycomb appearance. It’s associated with interstitial pulmonary edema and lung fibrosis.

Mosaic opacities appear as patches that vary in intensity. This can happen when a lung infection results in narrowing of the arteries or airways within the lungs. It can also result from the build-up of scars in areas of longstanding inflammation, such as TB or a fungal infection like cocci that you may have had when you were younger. This can cause a pattern known as crazy paving.

The opacities in this type of pattern are very thin and look almost white on the X-ray. These opacities are usually caused by pneumonia that’s caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungus. The infection causes the sacks in the lungs (called alveoli) to fill with fluid instead of air. The infection is also very hard on the lungs, and it can lead to pneumonia that’s caused by mycoplasma pneumonia or atypical viral or bacterial pneumonia.


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