Basic Anatomy and CT of the Normal Lung

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Good knowledge of lung anatomy is mandatory to understand the CT features of lung diseases, not only because it permits a better understanding of the CT features of the disease (appearance pattern), but also because it helps to understand the specific distribution in the lung of the disease (distribution pattern). Comprehensive knowledge of the lobes and segments of the lung has of course always been a very important part of radiologists’ armamentarium, but it was the introduction of CT and especially thin-slice CT that made the significance of the subsegmental lung anatomy apparent. Indeed, the high anatomic detail obtained with thin-slice CT allows the recognition of anatomical structures at a subsegmental level and the identification of lung units as small as the secondary pulmonary lobule. These secondary pulmonary lobules have turned out to be very important in the interpretation of lung changes seen on CT and abnormalities of these units are more or less the building blocks of which the CT patterns are constructed.