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Lung diseases

Small bullae seen at both lung apices

01/22/2008

Question:

My CT scan shows small bullae seen at both lung apices , I was wondering what this means? Does it have anything to do with cancer? Is it dangerous? What should be done?

Answer:

Bullae are empty spaces or "holes" in the lung and can be caused by many things. In smokers, they can be due to emphysema. In non-smokers, they can be due to previous infection or inflammation. Sometimes, small bullae can be found in otherwise healthy young persons. Bullae are generally not related to cancer. Small bullae usually do not cause any symptoms by themselves (although underlying emphysema certainly can when they are related to emphysema). Rarely, the bullae can rupture, similar to a burst bubble. When this happens, a pneumothorax can occur.

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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