Pulmonary Indeterminate Nodules
The presence of pulmonary indeterminate nodules can cause a considerable amount of anxiety. To assist patients with further evaluation and treatment, UW Health's pulmonary and critical care medicine specialists have developed a SPIN (Surveillance of Pulmonary Indeterminate Nodules) Clinic staffed by multidisciplinary physicians including thoracic surgeons, medical oncologists, and expert radiologists, and physician assistants. The clinicians work as a team and may recommend additional tests to aid in the diagnosis of a benign versus malignant lesion.
About Pulmonary Indeterminate Nodules
Each year more than 150,000 patients present to their doctors with pulmonary indeterminate nodules. These nodules are defined as lung lesions, less than 1 cm, with clearly defined borders.
The majority of these are non-cancerous or benign. The diagnosis of a benign lesion is easier to make when the nodules contain calcifications. Very small nodules (less than four mm) are even more likely benign; however, this is challenging to prove with current biopsy and imaging techniques.
These nodules are usually found incidentally in otherwise healthy patients without symptoms of cough, bloody mucus, or unexplained weight loss. They may be found when a chest X-ray or CT scan is taken for a patient complaining of pain after a fall or motor vehicle accident.
Patients must first have an initial consultation with our thoracic surgeon, who may then refer patients to the SPIN clinic.