Advanced Visualization: Seeing More

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The cries could be heard from imaging professionals throughout the halls of McCormick this year: help us efficiently manage image intense applications in this digital era! Developers of advanced visualization software, the medical imaging tool formerly known as 3D software, answered the call, showing new tools and enhancements to their 3D applications and analysis tools that pushed the envelope.
   
Beautiful, volumetric images flashed up on sleek, flat-panel monitors and even rotated in circles or performed vivid fly-throughs to give RSNA attendees a crystal clear view of newer capabilities of next-generation software. Companies pushed high performance with the image quality and measurements tools needed to reduce reading time.
   
The increased utilization (and so-called "image pollution") of multi-slice CT has fueled the demand for high-performance 3D visualization and analysis software that can be utilized on freestanding workstations, online and offline, as well as PACS diagnostic workstations. In a distributed PACS reading environment, imaging professionals no longer want to be locked to one individual workstation. As a result, this year saw the release of more visualization tools that can be accessed from a web-enabled, thin-client server.      
   
Companies showed tools that help in the pre-, intra- and post-operative stages of surgery, rendering images from many modalities and showing strength in image clarity, volume, texture and color. And as CT colonography gains greater clinical foot hold, companies have strengthened their reading and analysis tools so that reading time decreases and reporting standards can be achieved. Similar tools for lung analysis brought interest, too.

(Note: companies appear in alphabetical order.)


Able Software Corp. highlighted 3D-DOCTOR, a vector-based 3D medical modeling software at this year's RSNA.
   
Able Software's FDA-approved 3D-Doctor provides tools for physicians and medical researchers to create 3D polygonal mesh models from CT, MRI, PET or other volumetric images. Users of the software are able create 3D models for surgical simulation and planning, calculate 3D volume for quantitative analysis of cancer patient treatment, and visualize 3D images to further medical education and research.
   
3D-DOCTOR creates 3D polygonal models and volume displays from cross-sectional images on a real-time basis. Images are segmented using either the fully automated texture-based segmentation or the interactive threshold-based segmentation method. The software provides measurement functions to measure 3D volume, distance, 3D locations, thickness, area of a region, surface area, image density profile and image histogram of a region in any shape. This product's advanced image processing functions include template-based scanned film cropping, 3D image re-slicing to change slice thickness or re-slice along an arbitrary axis, registration and image fusion of multi-modality images.
    
3D-DOCTOR supports a wide variety of modalities in a number of formats: DICOM, Interfile, TIFF, BMP, JPEG, GIF, PNG, RAW, and other file formats as well. The software provides fully automated and semi-automatic image segmentation for extracting different tissues, and it supports an unlimited number of objects for 3D models with different colors.
   
Also, 3D STL and VRML (with colors) output files could be used directly by 3D printers or rapid-prototyping machines for high-quality 3D printing. Other output formats including IGES, AutoCAD DXF, Wavefront OBJ, 3Dstudio 3DS, and raw triangles are used for 3D mesh modeling, quantitative measurement and finite element analysis. Finally, Able Software has made its software relatively cost effective - which could facilitate academic use - without any additional modules needed to create 3D polygonal models from medical images.


AccuImage Diagnostics showed enhancements to its line of advanced visualization tools, including CalScoreM, PrimeLung and IllumiView.  
   
The CalScoreM calcium scoring module supports lesion-by-lesion and side-by-side comparisons for follow up or repeat scanning. It also provides an advanced coronary calcium scoring report generator.
   
PrimeLung lung nodule visualization and analysis package is designed for use with chest CT studies, and IllumiView 3D visualization technology for reviewing colon and other luminal studies.
   
Merge eFilm plans to acquire AccuImage, with a closing anticipated in early