Ultrasound upgrades display 3-D images

Three-dimensional (3-D) ultrasound is fast becoming a new nonintrusive medical imaging technique as a result of parallel processing. A few commercial vendors already offer 3-D ultrasound systems, but many require several minutes to reconstruct three-dimensional images.

Dec 1st, 1996

Ultrasound upgrades display 3-D images

Three-dimensional (3-D) ultrasound is fast becoming a new nonintrusive medical imaging technique as a result of parallel processing. A few commercial vendors already offer 3-D ultrasound systems, but many require several minutes to reconstruct three-dimensional images.

At the Fraunhofer Institute (Darmstadt, Germany), Dr. Georgios Sakas and his colleagues have developed a system, InVivo, that allows existing commercial two-dimensional (2-D) ultrasound systems to be upgraded to 3-D ones. Because the system uses external components, existing hardware and software need not be modified.

As a result, the 2-D examination procedure remains unchanged with the physician only using the 3-D mode when required. To upgrade an existing 2-D ultrasound system, two components must be added. First, an electromechanical tracking system must be mounted onto the ultrasound transducer. Next, the video output of the ultrasound machine is digitized using a frame grabber attached to a PC. Every image is then stored along with its corresponding coordinates in system memory.

After scanning is complete, software optimizes the slice-to-volume resampling procedure by filtering multiple entries using optimal pixels for a given location and interpolates pixels in areas where no scan has been performed. In this way, a 3-D reconstruction of the image is accomplished. At present, InVivo software is available for both PowerPCs under AIX and Sun SPARC stations under SunOS 5.1x. For more information contact gsakas@igd.fhg.de.

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