Virtual Endoscopy of the Trachea and Bronchi
Studying the internal organs of a living body has fascinated physicians around the world throughout history and has always been of elementary significance for the physiologists and clinicians who explore the healthy and ill human being. The bronchoscopy technique has existed since 1897, when Gustav Killian pioneered examination of the lower trachea and bronchi by means of a laryngoscope. Today, bronchoscopy represents probably one of the most frequently used invasive procedures (Sackner 1975). According to a survey conducted by the American College of Chest Physicians, 53,639 bronchoscopies were carried out in the USA in 1989. This number demonstrates the clinical importance attained by bronchoscopic examination. In light of the technical advances of the past decade, the clinical value of bronchoscopy has further increased (Jover et al. 1978; Liebler and Markin 2000; Mitchell et al. 1980).
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