Purpose: The objective of the study was to assess the ability of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and helical multidetector-row computed tomography (MDCT) to visualize the thoracic duct in esophageal cancer patients.
Methods: Sixty esophageal cancer patients underwent preoperative MDCT and MRI using 3-dimensional balanced turbo-field-echo sequence. The visualization grades by MDCT, MRI, and a combination of MDCT and MRI were scored in 4 segments of the thoracic duct (cervical, upper, middle, and lower).
Results: In the cervical, middle, and lower segments, MRI provided significantly higher visualization grades than MDCT. In all segments, combined MDCT and MRI resulted in higher grades than MDCT alone. In addition, combined MDCT and MRI successfully allowed visualization of the cervical, upper, middle, and lower segments of the thoracic duct in 46 (76.7%), 50 (83.3%), 58 (96.7%), and 60 (100%) patients, respectively.
Conclusions: Combination of MDCT and MRI allows noninvasive thoracic duct visualization, providing 3-dimensional information on other thoracic structures.