Fat-containing lesions of the chest

Scott C. Gaerte, Cristopher A. Meyer, Helen T. Winer-Muram, Robert D. Tarver, Dewey J. Conces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

188 Scopus citations


Although most lesions that occur in the chest have a nonspecific soft-tissue appearance, fat-containing lesions are occasionally encountered at cross-sectional computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging. The various fat-containing lesions of the chest include parenchymal and endobronchial lesions such as hamartoma, lipoid pneumonia, and lipoma. Endobronchial hamartoma usually appears at CT as a lesion with a smooth edge, focal collections of fat, or fat collections that alternate with foci of calcification. Mediastinal fat-containing lesions include germ cell neoplasms, thymolipomas, lipomas, and liposarcomas. The most frequent CT manifestation of the germ cell neoplasm teratoma is a heterogeneous mass with soft-tissue, fluid, fat, and calcium attenuation. Cardiac lesions with fat content include lipomatous hypertrophy of the interatrial septum and arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia. Diagnosis of the former is made with CT when a smooth, nonenhancing, well-marginated fat-containing lesion is identified in the interatrial septum. Finally, fat may herniate into the chest at several characteristic locations. When such a lesion is identified, the time required for differential diagnosis is significantly reduced, often allowing a definitive radiologic diagnosis. Sagittal and coronal reformatted images can add valuable information by showing diaphragmatic defects and hernia contents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)s61-s78
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, 51.1959
  • Fat, CT, **.1211
  • Fat, MR, **.1214
  • Hamartoma, 60.314
  • Heart, abnormalities
  • Heart, neoplasms, 51.312, 51.32
  • Hernia, 71.152, 795.153, 795.154

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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    Gaerte, S. C., Meyer, C. A., Winer-Muram, H. T., Tarver, R. D., & Conces, D. J. (2002). Fat-containing lesions of the chest. Radiographics, 22, s61-s78. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1933-0332(08)70144-7