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3. Trachea and carina — tomogram, coronal plane

The use of tomography has largely been supplanted by CT and MRI, the cross-sectional imaging modalities. However, it's useful here to display the position of major bronchi relative to the rest of the mediastinal shadow. Because tomography brings one plane of interest into focus, the airways are better seen here than in the PA radiograph (see Image #1). The carina is the apex of the bifurcation point of the trachea; it's located at the lower border of the T5 vertebra. Each main bronchus traverses the middle mediastinum to reach the lung via the hilum. The left main bronchus is more horizontally oriented than the right. The left pulmonary artery loops backward over the left main bronchus (See Image #5, MRI through the left hilum). The right main bronchus is more of a direct vertical continuation of the trachea. The azygos vein arches forward over it before entering the superior vena cava.