Evaluation of the Normal Airway Using Virtual Endoscopy and Three-Dimensional Reconstruction
Virtual endoscopy (VE) is a technique for creating computer simulations of anatomy from radiological image data and viewing those simulations in a way that is analogous to conventional endoscopy. Progress in computer technology has generated many advances in noninvasive diagnostic imaging. For example, the advent of helical CT has permitted the acquisition of volumes of CT data from which (3-D) images can accurately be extracted. VE utilizes such 3-D images in real time to simulate the views obtained during real endoscopy.
The semitransparent, color-coded volume reconstruction offers the advantage that in addition to the endoluminal representation, the surrounding structures can also be assessed. Other major advantages of the virtual versus the fiber-optic endoscopy are their noninvasiveness, the possibility of passage of subtotal stenosis with assessment of the downstream airways, and navigational aids and retrograde view. Disadvantages are the lack of color rendering, and intervention possibilities. Compared to other forms of CT imaging, a virtual endoscopically more realistic assessment of tracheobronchial stenosis is possible than with axial sectional images or multiplanar reformation.
KeywordsComputed tomography Multidetector computed tomography Virtual endoscopy of airway Virtual reality Tissue transition projection Shaded surface display Virtual bronchoscopy of airway 3-D reconstructions
Normal VE video series from nose to carina (MOV 1209 kb)
Normal VE video series from nose to carina (MP4 3325 kb)
Normal VE video series from nose to carina (MOV 16542 kb)
VRT reconstruction image of the skin contour as well as the cartilaginous framework of the nose is demonstrated clearly using the VRT model. (AVI 2412 kb)