Comparative study of thin sectional anatomical images from Chinese visible human data set and computed tomography images of superior mediastinum

Y. Wu, N. Luo, L.W. Tan, B.J. Fang, Y. Li, B. Xie, H.T. Xu, N. Hu, W.P. Yang, W. Wu, W.H. Lamers, S.X. Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The structures of superior mediastinum and their spatial relationships are complex and difficult to master. This study aimed to compare visualization of the superior mediastinum based on computed tomography (CT) images and on the thin sections of the Chinese visible human (CVH) data set to provide a sectional anatomical basis for diagnostic imaging of superior mediastinal pathology. CVH sections of the mediastinum of a 35-year old male were compared with plain and enhanced CT images of a 45-year old male without apparent abnormalities in the upper chest. In addition, a three-dimensional model based on the CVH sections was compared with a model based on CT images. Although CT imaging is noninvasive and can be carried out in many individuals, its weakness is clearly the visualization of small soft tissue structures. In this respect, the sectional anatomical approach of the CVH images is complementary, as it visualizes these small soft tissue structures due to the higher resolution in the plain of sectioning and the color of the different structures in the section. Three-dimensional surface and volume rendering of reconstructions of the CVH data set can help medical students and less experienced thoracic surgeons to familiarize themselves with the topographic anatomy of the superior mediastinal structures and their spatial relationships, and thus with interpreting CT images of patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1061
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Chinese visible human (CVH)
  • superior mediastinum
  • multislice spiral CT
  • three-dimensional (3D)
  • reconstruction

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