Q. What does streakiness in X-ray of lower lung indicate?

Answered by Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode and medically reviewed by Dr. Nithila A


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Hello doctor,

I am a 62-year-old male. I went for a routine X-ray, and the radiologist found some streakiness in the lower left lung. He said it appeared small and not significant, but it was adviced that I should come back in six months for a comparative X-ray and that it could just be a scar from an earlier infection.

I have read that a small scar area is probably non-progressive but I have also read about IPF, and that fills me with fear. Spirometry test was normal as it was a physical exam. I am so scared that it might be a progressive disease, but I hope that it is just an old scar as it is really small. Otherwise mostly healthy with no cough or difficulty breathing at all. Are all lung scars progressive?

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Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode
Cardiology, General Medicine, Internal Medicine


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Does not look worrisome (attachment removed to protect patient identity). Small streaks or fibrosis is usually due to old infection or collapses etc., The usual cause for such fibrosis is typically an infection and commonly found at such age groups.

The probability of IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) is extremely low as the fibrosis is not diffuse or bilateral, no symptoms and spirometry are normal. So, I think it is not worrisome at present and should follow up as advised to be sure. Should consult your doctor earlier if developed any symptoms. Majority of the scar is non-progressive and extremely common to find such scars on routine X-ray and the majority are benign.

I hope this helps you and get back if you have any doubts.


Thank you doctor,

I am feeling better after it. I just wanted to ask if my pictures of the X-rays were sufficient to assist with the opinion. If not I can try to take more and send again. I have been unable to sleep since this X-ray, and I hope it is nothing. I gave up smoking five years ago and I feel better so I hope it is not due to that.

I have not had a chest X-ray for years so there is nothing to compare it too from the past. Please let me know if you need some better images. So does this mean I can stop worrying?


Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode
Cardiology, General Medicine, Internal Medicine


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Some part of the left lower zone is missing, but it is enough to comment as the interpretation is also attached. Importantly, the shadow is streaky but not a reticulated or in a pattern of alveolar fibrosis, so in all probabilities, it is not IPF or anything serious. So, in the majority of patients with such fibrosis, it is benign and not worrisome. So, you should stop worrying and have followed up on a scheduled date to be sure.

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