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Radioanatomical study of a true tracheal bronchus using multidetector computed tomography



True tracheal bronchus (TTB) is a rare anomaly in which a lobar or segmental ectopic bronchus arises from the trachea. We examined the frequency and multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) appearances of TTB.

Materials and methods

We retrospectively analyzed 9781 chest MDCT examinations. In cases in which there was an abnormal bronchus suggesting TTB on axial CT images, the following imaging of the abnormal bronchi was undertaken: multiplanar reformation (MPR), multiprojection volume reconstruction (MPVR), volume rendering (VR), and virtual endoscopy (VE).


Of 9781 MDCT examinations, 30 TTBs were observed in 10 females and 20 males. The frequency of TTB was 0.21% among 4622 females, 0.39% among 5159 males (0.31 % in the overall patient population). TTBs arose from the right lateral wall of the trachea; 17 TTBs were of the displaced type and 13 of the supernumerary type. With the displaced type, all segments of the right upper lobe were supplied by the TTB in 8 patients, and the apical segment was supplied in 8 patients. With the supernumerary type, TTBs showed blind termination in 10 patients, and the TTB had a small lobule in 3 patients. All TTBs were clearly visualized on MPR, MPVR, VR, and VE.


TTB was identified by MDCT with an incidence of 0.31%.

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Correspondence to Masayuki Suzuki.

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Suzuki, M., Matsui, O., Kawashima, H. et al. Radioanatomical study of a true tracheal bronchus using multidetector computed tomography. Jpn J Radiol 28, 188–192 (2010).

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Key words

  • Tracheal bronchus
  • Multidetector CT
  • Multiplanar reformation
  • Volume rendering
  • Virtual endoscopy