What Does it Mean to Have an Abnormal X-Ray?

An abnormal chest X-ray can cause a lot of anxiety and questions. Until you get more information, you’ll wonder what caused the abnormal reading and exactly what it means for you.

In this blog, NYC pulmonologist Dr. Marc Bowen of MX Bowen, Physician P.C., Health & Breathing Center explains what it means to have an abnormal X-ray so you can get the peace of mind and any treatment you may need.

What is a chest x-ray?

A chest X-ray is a painless test that uses electromagnetic waves to take pictures of your chest, lungs, heart, large arteries, ribs, and diaphragm.

Why is it performed?

Your doctor may order a chest X-ray if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent cough
  • Chest pain or injury
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Wheezing
  • Chronic mucus production

What does it mean to have an abnormal chest X-ray?

An abnormal chest X-ray isn’t always a cause for concern, but it signals a need to gather more information.

In some cases, a chest X-ray can detect a pulmonary nodule (a small spot on your lung). Your doctor may want to take a tissue sample (biopsy) of the nodule to look for signs of cancer, but less than five percent of these nodules are cancerous. In addition, if it’s not cancerous, your doctor may want to monitor its growth over time.

A nodule may also indicate the presence of an infection or sarcoidosis (a chronic disease that causes immune system cells to build up in small clusters).

An abnormal X-ray can also indicate the presence of the following abnormal conditions:

  • Pneumonia
  • Excess fluid around the lung
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Cysts
  • Heart failure
  • Fluid around the heart
  • Enlarged heart
  • Broken ribs

What’s the next step?

Your doctor may be able to provide a diagnosis based on the findings in your abnormal X-ray and begin appropriate treatment.

If more information is needed, he or she may order additional tests, such as a CT (computed tomography) scan. It’s similar to an X-ray but is more powerful and is able to take 360-degree images of the area of concern.

Why should you visit MXBowen?

Dr. Bowen has nearly three decades of experience specializing in pulmonary diseases, critical care medicine, and internal medicine. He understands that an abnormal X-ray can cause a great deal of anxiety, and he’ll be able to give you the information you need.

Whether it’s a benign growth that needs no treatment other than monitoring or an issue that needs to be addressed, he’ll provide the highest level of compassionate care aided by the latest, state-of-the-art diagnostic and medical equipment.

If you’ve had a chest X-ray with abnormal results, make an appointment today with MXBowen, Physician P.C., Health & Breathing Center. We’ll explain what the X-ray shows, determine if further testing is needed, and make sure you have all the information you need to make the best possible decisions regarding your health.

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