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Patients are typically referred to us by their physician if imaging shows lung nodules, or “spots,” or enlarged lymph nodes in the chest. These findings can have many causes and may not necessarily be cancerous. We also see patients who are looking for a second opinion after having imaging and consulting with another physician.

To avoid any delay in care, our multidisciplinary team of specialists in pulmonology, interventional pulmonology, thoracic surgery and thoracic radiology work together closely to evaluate your lung findings and identify the next best step. We are highly experienced in providing detailed recommendations, state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques and thorough follow-up plans to help ensure our patients receive excellent medical care.

What to Expect

  • One of our nurse clinician coordinators will speak to you to schedule your appointment. You can expect your first appointment to be within two weeks of your referral.
  • If you had any prior scans outside of Northwestern Medicine, we will request those imaging studies to be sent to us prior to your appointment so our physicians can review them in advance. This will make your visit as efficient and informative as possible.
  • Based on your imaging, you will be matched to a specialist who can best carry out a plan that is most suitable for your needs. This may include a follow-up CT scan or a diagnostic intervention. You will meet with that specialist during your appointment.
  • At the conclusion of your appointment, you will be informed of the follow-up plan in detail.
    • Many lung nodules need continued surveillance over time, or “watchful waiting.” Occasionally, additional noninvasive testing is needed. If this was recommended to you, you and your physician will discuss how frequently you will need to return, and our team will help you set up the necessary follow-up imaging and appointments.
    • Some imaging may suggest the need for a minimally invasive biopsy or surgery to determine a diagnosis. Your physician will work with you to determine the best procedure based on your imaging and personal needs.
    • If a cancer diagnosis is confirmed, we can expedite referrals to thoracic specialists in medical and radiation oncology as well as minimally invasive thoracic surgery.
  • If you ever need to change a follow-up scan or appointment, please notify our clinic.

Meet the Teams

A physician looks at a pulmonary scan of the lungs.
The Multidisciplinary Lung Nodule Program team combines advanced clinical practice with state-of-the-art technology for the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of lung diseases in the complex airway and pleural space.


  • Airway Obstruction (Malignant or Benign)
  • Complications from Previous Intubation Procedures
  • Foreign Body Aspiration
  • Lung Cancer
  • Lung Nodules
  • Tracheal or Bronchial Stenos



    Lung Transplantation Program

    The Northwestern Medicine Lung Transplantation Program combines leading clinical practice with groundbreaking research in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of severe lung disease. With an active clinical trial program bringing new treatments and procedures to light, our pulmonary physicians offer experience, innovation and expertise in the treatment of complex lung disease.

    Lung Cancer Screening Program

    The Northwestern Medicine Lung Cancer Screening Program specializes in the imaging evaluation and follow-up of patients at high risk for lung cancer.

    Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital Lung Nodule Program

    The clinical experts at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital provide prompt diagnosis and individualized treatment plans for patients with lung nodules, lung cancer and other types of lung diseases.