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Gastroenterology and Hepatology - Physiology - Radiology and Medical Imaging - Surgery

Visualization of the Left Extraperitoneal Space and Spatial Relationships to Its Related Spaces by the Visible Human Project
Published: Monday, November 07, 2011
Author: Haotong Xu et al.

by Haotong Xu, Xiaoxiao Li, Zhengzhi Zhang, Mingguo Qiu, Qiwen Mu, Yi Wu, Liwen Tan, Shaoxiang Zhang, Xiaoming Zhang


The major hindrance to multidetector CT imaging of the left extraperitoneal space (LES), and the detailed spatial relationships to its related spaces, is that there is no obvious density difference between them. Traditional gross anatomy and thick-slice sectional anatomy imagery are also insufficient to show the anatomic features of this narrow space in three-dimensions (3D). To overcome these obstacles, we used a new method to visualize the anatomic features of the LES and its spatial associations with related spaces, in random sections and in 3D.


In conjunction with Mimics® and Amira® software, we used thin-slice cross-sectional images of the upper abdomen, retrieved from the Chinese and American Visible Human dataset and the Chinese Virtual Human dataset, to display anatomic features of the LES and spatial relationships of the LES to its related spaces, especially the gastric bare area. The anatomic location of the LES was presented on 3D sections reconstructed from CVH2 images and CT images.

Principal Findings

What calls for special attention of our results is the LES consists of the left sub-diaphragmatic fat space and gastric bare area. The appearance of the fat pad at the cardiac notch contributes to converting the shape of the anteroexternal surface of the LES from triangular to trapezoidal. Moreover, the LES is adjacent to the lesser omentum and the hepatic bare area in the anterointernal and right rear direction, respectively.


The LES and its related spaces were imaged in 3D using visualization technique for the first time. This technique is a promising new method for exploring detailed communication relationships among other abdominal spaces, and will promote research on the dynamic extension of abdominal diseases, such as acute pancreatitis and intra-abdominal carcinomatosis.