The large airways can be affected by a wide spectrum of acquired benign and malignant diseases. These lesions may present as focal or diffuse processes and with narrowing or widening of the airway. Some of these may be asymptomatic for quite some time and may be incidentally detected on imaging, while others may be symptomatic, causing airway compromise. There may be a characteristic radiograph and computed tomography (CT) appearance, suggesting a narrow differential. When the imaging findings are not definitive, tissue may be obtained for pathological analysis. It behooves the radiologist to be familiar with the pathologic findings that correlate with the radiographic or CT appearance of the most frequently seen large airway lesions. In this way, we may improve our diagnostic accuracy. This paper will present the imaging findings of the most prevalent tracheobronchial lesions along with any associated pathology. Teaching Points • The large airways can be affected by many acquired benign and malignant diseases. • Large airway lesions may present as focal or diffuse processes, with narrowing or widening. • There may or may not be characteristic imaging appearance of large airway disease. • If imaging findings are not definitive, tissue may be obtained for pathological analysis.
- Computed tomography