Advanced Visualization moves to the next dimension
At this year's RSNA, advanced visualization (AV) software vendors demonstrated how informatics is impacting radiology with technologies that allow volumetric images and advanced visualization tools to be brought directly to the radiologist wherever he or she is located. Vendors showed that physicians can have timely and convenient access to AV tools via a PC versus a high-end, dedicated 3D workstation located within the walls of the radiology department. In some instances, vendors showed AV software tools that permit all medical image data processing and visualization to be done on a central server, so that only the resulting screen content is streamed to the thin client via a standard network connection.

In addition to convenient, anywhere/anytime access to AV tools, vendors showed clinical applications that help physicians cope with the large amount of data produced by multidetector CT scanners and advanced MRI systems. While advanced cardiac CT applications got the most show time, vendors also featured applications for orthopedics, PET/CT, breast imaging, lung CT and CT colonography.  Today's AV software tools also tout faster processing times and intuitive workflow so that physicians can use the systems more efficiently. Training, reimbursement, as well as the evaluation of what will 3D add to my clinical abilities, were AV topics on the minds of many physicians walking around the show floor.

Barco Voxar 3D ColonMetrixBarco revealed two new advanced visualization applications for CT colonography and PET-CT fusion for integration into its Voxar 3D suite. Voxar's 3D ColonMetrix allows radiologists to interpret a CT colonography study and generate a report typically within 10 minutes. The 3D PET/CT Fusion software supports the interpretation of whole body FDG oncology studies and allows real-time interaction with PET, CT and fused volumes.

ContextVision featured its new 3D-GOP application that is designed to advance digital image enhancement. 3D-GOP's sophisticated algorithms offer significant image enhancement improvements, as all clinical structures that are extended in three dimensions.

Cedara Software, a Merge Healthcare company, highlighted several new applications for deformable registration and image fusion such as PET/CT image fusion, lung SPECT/CT image fusion, and MRI/SPECT image fusion for the brain. The company also demonstrated its new C4 integration platform, which is a system that allows OEM companies to tightly integrate applications into their existing technologies.

Emageon demonstrated its new Enterprise Visual Medical System (EVMS) system release 5.30. Emageon has added a host of new features to the software, including a technologist QC application, a personal content manager and enhanced web administration.

GE Healthcare introduced Advantage Workstation (AW) VolumeShare 2, an advanced image visualization application that provides physicians with diagnostic tools for CT, PET, MR, x-ray, vascular, mammography, and other modalities. GE's AW provides 2D, 3D and 4D post-processing capabilities to help handle the increasing diagnostic and workflow needs of today's imaging departments.

Mercury Computer Systems showcased its Visage 3D to the Core product line with advanced functionalities, new clinical applications, and improved levels of image quality and performance. Featured products included Mercury's Visage MR, the Visage CS Thin/Client Server, Visage RT and the Cell Accelerator Board.                       

Orthocrat demonstrated a works-in-progress version of TraumaCad 3D. TraumaCad is the company's digital orthopedic surgical planning system.

Pegasus Imaging Corp. highlighted its newly released JPEG 2000 Part 2 implementation for 3D volumetric encoding, within the PICTools MedX Software Development Kit (SDK). 

TeraRecon debuted the iNtuition platform for its Aquarius product line that is designed to deliver advanced image management of volumetric imaging data from modalities such as MDCT, MR or PET on an enterprise-wide level. The company demonstrated iNtuition workflow that is designed to minimize the manual interaction required to bring a volumetric examination to the point where a physician can make a definitive diagnostic or therapy planning decision.

Vital Images showcased Vital Community, a suite of advanced visualization products which include the company's flag ship Vitrea software, web-based VitalConnect, VitreaAccess system and education through Vital U.

Viatronix highlighted an advanced visualization clinical tool for analysis of coronary vessels and cardiac function called 3D cardiac. According to Viatronix, the works in progess, which is planned for release in March 2007, can easily be integrated with any PACS workstation.