Cytologic analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid is used for lung cancer diagnosis. We describe a patient with a history of rectal carcinoma who presented with a new lung mass. BAL was performed, with positron emission tomography-computed tomography the following day. There was mildly increased fluorodeoxy- D-glucose uptake in areas of the lung parenchyma with new ground-glass opacification. This created ambiguity in staging, clarified 2 weeks later by a computed tomography showing complete resolution of the ground-glass opacity. Clinicians should be aware that BAL may cause increased pulmonary fluoro-deoxy-D-glucose uptake, making accurate radiologic interpretation problematic. We suggest that to optimize positron emission tomography-computed tomography, studies should not be performed within 24 hours of BAL.