Three-dimensional imaging of vocalizing larynx by ultra-high-resolution computed tomography
Ultra-high-resolution computed tomography (UHRCT) is an emerging imaging technology that is able to achieve simultaneous 160 slices with super-thin 0.25 mm thickness. The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of UHRCT to visualize laryngeal structure and kinetics.
Three normal volunteers and three patients with unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP) were incorporated in this case series. First, images were taken under five conditions in normal volunteers. Five tasks consisted of (1) air inspiration through the nose (IN), (2) breath holding (BH), (3) sustained vowel /i:/ phonation (IP), (4) humming phonation (HP), and (5) forced glottic closure during exhalation (FC). Three-dimensional CT images of arytenoid and cricoid cartilages, as well as virtual laryngoscopic images, were reconstructed using UHRCT data. Reconstructed images were compared among five conditions to assess the best tasks to picture laryngeal kinetics. Second, pre- and post-phonosurgical images were examined in UVFP patients to evaluate potential role of UHRCT to assess laryngeal pathology in hoarse patients.
Among the five conditions, IN and IP conditions were considered suitable to visualize laryngeal structure at rest and during phonation, respectively. Kinetic abnormalities including asymmetric motion of arytenoid cartilages were elucidated in UVFP patients, and virtual endoscopy visualized the clinically invisible posterior three-dimensional glottic chinks. Furthermore, UHRCT was useful to understand changes in laryngeal structure achieved by phonosurgery.
UHRCT is an emerging imaging technology that can be used for minimally invasive visualization and assessment of laryngeal structure and kinetics. Future studies to assess more number of patients with laryngeal dysfunction are warranted.
KeywordsUltra-high-resolution computed tomography Unilateral vocal fold paralysis Laryngeal imaging Virtual endoscopy Three-dimensional reconstruction
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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