1. What exactly is "ground glass", if this exists?

  2. How do GGOs relate to "ground glass"? Rather than "ground glass", why not call these light-coloured or gray or transculent opacities?

What are 'Ground Glass Opacities'? CT Scans Show COVID-19 Lung Damage | Health.com

According to Isabel Oliva Cortopassi, MD, chief of thoracic imaging at Yale Medicine and an associate professor of radiology and biomedical imaging, ground glass opacities (GGOs, for short) indicate abnormalities in the lungs. "Ground glass opacities [are] a pattern that can be seen when the lungs are sick," says Dr. Cortopassi. She adds that, while normal lung CT scans appear black, an abnormal chest CT with GGOs will show lighter-colored or gray patches.

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    I think an easy google search will answer your questions.
    – Armand
    Jun 28, 2021 at 7:05
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    Like many things in medicine, nomenclature is often based on simple observation. Have you ever seen beach glass? It has been sanded down in the surf, and is translucent, not transparent. Sanding or grinding glass would have the same effect. So Ground Glass Nodules (or Opacities) are simply areas that look like ground glass, i.e. they are opaque, like beach glass. (Geographic Tongue is called that because it is patchy and looks like a map. A better but still observational name is migratory glossitis.) Jun 28, 2021 at 18:41
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    @anongoodnurse I was prepared to close this as lacking prior research, but your comment would actually make a good answer. I can see this being a useful question if paired with a useful answer. Otherwise, I delete your comment as a comment-answer and close the question as lacking prior research.
    – Carey Gregory
    Jun 29, 2021 at 4:12

1 Answer 1


As described in this article at radiopaedia.org , the meaning relevant to the question is likely:

Ground glass opacification is also used in chest radiography to refer to a region of hazy lung radiopacity, often fairly diffuse, in which the edges of the pulmonary vessels may be difficult to appreciate

The use of the term ground glass derives from the industrial technique in glassmaking whereby the surface of normal glass is roughened by grinding it.

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