This study was performed to understand the structure of both central and peripheral airways including bronchiloles and the alveolar space by the virtual bronchoscopy method. Image data for virtual navigation were obtained from three-dimensional data of multi-detector CT (MDCT) and of micro-focused cone-beam CT (MCT).
Three-dimensional data of the chest were obtained from clinical MDCT scans. Data of peripheral lung structure were obtained from MCT scanning of a resected lung specimen which was chemically fixed and inflated by Heitzman’s method. Virtual navigation of the bronchial space on personal computers was performed by the custom-made program that was created by one of the author K.M.
Observation of the internal structures of the lung was possible on any three dimensional sectional planes by volume rendering display mode. High speed navigation from the trachea to subsegmental bronchi was performed on clinical chest MDCT data. Navigation to the bronchioles, respiratory bronchioles, alveolar ducts, and alveoli were made successfully on MCT data. Precise structures of alveoli were clearly observed on MCT data.
Virtual navigation from trachea to alveoli was performed. This method was useful for non-destructive three dimensional understanding of the airways. Repeated non-limited navigation was possible.
This system was useful for understanding of the airways in education, training, and pre-bronchoscopic informed consent for the patient with bronchial lesions or peripheral lung diseases that require trans-bronchial lung biopsy.
Hiroshi Natori, None.