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Ann Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2013;19(1):1-5. Epub 2013 Jan 31.

Three dimensional computed tomography lung modeling is useful in simulation and navigation of lung cancer surgery.

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.


The number of minimally invasive operations, such as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lobectomy or segmentectomy, has enormously increased in recent years. These operations require extreme knowledge of the anatomy of pulmonary vessels and bronchi in each patient, and surgeons must carefully dissect the branches of pulmonary vessels during operation. Thus, foreknowledge of the anatomy of each patient would greatly contribute to the safety and accuracy of the operation. The development of multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) has promoted three dimensional (3D) images of lung structures. It is possible to see the vascular and bronchial structures from the view of the operator; therefore, it is employed for preoperative simulation as well as navigation during operation. Due to advances in software, even small vessels can be accurately imaged, which is useful in performing segmentectomy. Surgical simulation and navigation systems based on high quality 3D lung modeling, including vascular and bronchial structures, can be used routinely to enhance the safety operation, education of junior staff, as well as providing a greater sense of security to the operators.

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