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3D Imaging Aids Life Sciences

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Advances in displays and software allow doctors and educators to render realistic images of human anatomy.


While human bodies and single cells are three-dimensional, imaging of them often was not. Data might be captured in two-dimensional slices during a computed tomography, magnetic resonance, ultrasound or even microscope study. But the interpretation of how those 2D images related to real-world medical and life science structures sometimes required specialized expertise. Now, advances in display-related technology and software are changing that, with benefits to medicine and the biosciences ranging from education to operation planning. Some of those advances borrow from fields far removed from the life sciences. That was the case for Franz Fellner, a professor of radiology and head of the Central Radiology Institute at Kepler University Hospital in Linz, Austria. He has been putting to use 3D rendering based on techniques similar to those found in movies. “I use cinematic rendering to create anatomical figures for my conventional educational lessons using PowerPoint files,” he said. Fellner does this working from CT and MRI data sets, turning these into 3D anatomy lessons, both for medical students and the public. This is done in a high-resolution 8K projection room that offers dual 16 × 9-m viewing surfaces on the walls and floor. It allows stereoscopic 3D images, transforming image slices into an assembled lifelike whole. The image processing technology behind this has been developed over the past few years by what is now Siemens Healthineers, a separately managed health care business of Siemens AG. The company provides CT, MRI, PET and x-ray devices, with every method capable of 3D imaging. “In recent years, the amount of data generated by these scanners is significantly increasing,” said Andre Steinbuss, head of global product marketing for Syngo (Siemens Healthineers’ radiology imaging post-processing business line). The growing flood of data generated by the various 3D imaging techniques presented problems, particularly when radiologists had to communicate with outside experts such as surgeons and others. Traditional rendering techniques that transformed 2D grayscale data into 3D presentations did not yield high-quality images and these were frequently not accepted by outside experts, Steinbuss said. To overcome this drawback, the company created software based on movie techniques to create photorealistic images. The input data can come from any source that adheres to the DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) standard for medical imaging information. Thus, it could include data captured with a CT or MRI scanner.

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Nov/Dec 2017
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digital imaging and communications in medicine
Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) is an international standard for medical imaging created by both the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and the American College of Radiology. This international standard was developed for CAT scan and MRI scan images, but it is now under the authorization of the DICOM Standards Committee. Currently, DICOM is used as a guideline for imaging in a variety of medical fields such as dentistry, pathology, radiology and...
imaging2Dlife sciencesmedicineeducationCentral Radiology InstituteKepler University Hospital3DCTMRIFranz FellnerstereoscopicSiemens Healthineershealth careSiemensAGPETx-rayAndre SteinbussSyngoradiologysurgeonDICOMHolografika Ltd.Tibor BaloghHoloVizioLightspace Technologies SIAIlmars OsmanisenvironmentvolumetricholographicDisplaysendoscopyroboticsGoogleMicrosoftwearablesHoloLensIntervention Centre of Oslo University HospitalSopra Steria GroupOle Jakob ElleBjørn EdwinHenrik BruncardiologyultrasoundFeaturesDigital Imaging and Communications in Medicine

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