Significance of chest ultrasound in the early postoperative period following thoracic surgery
In internal medicine, thoracic and lung ultrasound is used to diagnose pleural masses/fluid collections, for staging lung cancer, for excluding pneumothorax and pulmonary edema, and for diagnosing pulmonary embolisms (1,2). The value of lung ultrasound in emergency and intensive care medicine also has been estimated increasingly over the last years (3,4). Although there are well-known limitations caused by the air-containing lung, this method can successfully visualize solid nodules and lung consolidations that are just below the pleura as long as no pneumothorax is present. Chest ultrasound also has a high accuracy and is superior to the chest X-ray for the diagnosis of pleural effusion, pneumothorax, and lung consolidation (5).