Three-dimensional atlas of lymph node topography based on the visible human data set.Anat Rec B New Anat. 2006 May; 289(3):98-111.AR
Comprehensive atlases of lymph node topography are necessary tools to provide a detailed description of the lymphatic distribution in relation to other organs and structures. Despite the recent developments of atlases and guidelines focusing on definitions of lymphatic regions, a comprehensive and detailed description of the three-dimensional (3D) nodal distribution is lacking. This article describes a new 3D atlas of lymph node topography based on the digital images of the Visible Human Male Anatomical (VHMA) data set. About 1,200 lymph nodes were localized in the data set and their distribution was compared with data from current cross-sectional lymphatic atlases. The identified nodes were delineated and then labeled with different colors that corresponded to their anatomical locations. A series of 2D illustrations, showing discrete locations, description, and distribution of major lymph nodes, was compiled to form a cross-sectional atlas. The resultant contours of all localized nodes in the VHMA data set were superimposed to develop a volumetric model. A 3D reconstruction was generated for the lymph nodes and surrounding structures. The volumetric lymph node topography was also integrated into the existing VOXEL-MAN digital atlas to obtain an interactive and photo-realistic visualization of the lymph nodes showing their proximity to blood vessels and surrounding organs. The lymph node topography forms part of our whole body atlas database, which includes organs, definitions, and parameters that are related to radiation therapy. The lymph node topography atlas could be utilized for visualization and exploration of the 3D lymphatic distribution to assist in defining the target volume for treatment based on the lymphatic spread surrounding the primary tumor.