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Official Journal of the Italian Society of Thoracic Endoscopy
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Minerva Pneumologica 2009 September;48(3):219-30

language: English

Virtual bronchoscopy: a diagnostic, interventional and educational tool

De Wever W., Coolen J., Verschakelen J. A.

Department of Radiology, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium


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Virtual bronchoscopy is a CT-based imaging technique that allows a noninvasive intraluminal evaluation of the tracheobronchial tree. With the evolution of the hardware and software technique in multi-detector computed tomography, this imaging technique has generated a lot of interest. Most of the virtual endoscopic software programs are using a volume rendering technique. Virtual bronchoscopy can be used as a diagnostic, interventional or educational tool. As diagnostic tool, virtual bronchoscopy can be used for the evaluation of tracheobronchial stenoses, the evaluation of lung cancer, and the evaluation of the bronchial tree in children. As interventional tool, virtual bronchoscopy is used to guide transbronchial biopsies of mediastinal or hilar lymph nodes and small periphery lung lesions. Virtual bronchoscopy will never replace fiberoptical bronchoscopy, but in selected cases it can assist and direct fiberoptical bronchoscopy and sometimes it can give additional information. In this paper we will give an overview of the clinical applications of virtual bronchoscopy.

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