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Proceedings Paper

Three-dimensional rendering in medicine: some common misconceptions
Author(s): Jayaram K. Udupa
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Paper Abstract

As seen in the medical imaging literature and in the poster presentations at the annual conference of the Radiological Society of North America during the past 10 years, several mis conceptions are held relating to 3D rendering of medical images. The purpose of this presentation is to illustrate and clarify these with medical examples. Most of the misconceptions have to do with a mix up of the issues related to the common visualization techniques, viz., surface rendering (SR) and volume rendering (VR), and methods of image segmentation. In our survey, we came across the following most commonly held conceptions which we believe (and shall demonstrate) are not correct: (1) SR equated to thresholding. (2) VR considered not requiring segmentation. (3) VR considered to achieve higher resolution than SR. (4) SR/VR considered to require specialized hardware to achieve adequate speed. We shall briefly define and establish some fundamental terms to obviate any potential for terminology-related misconceptions. Subsequently, we shall sort out these issues and illustrate with examples as to why the above conceptions are incorrect. There are many SR methods that use segmentations that are far superior to thresholding. All VR techniques (except the straightforward MIP) require some form of fuzzy object specification, that is, fuzzy segmentation. The details seen in renditions depend fundamentally on, in addition to the rendering method, segmentation techniques also. There are fast-software-based rendering methods that give a performance on PCs similar to or exceeding that of expensive hardware systems. Most of the difficulties encountered in visualization (and also in image processing and analysis) stem from the difficulties in segmentation. It is important to identify these and separate them from the issues related purely to 3D rendering.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 May 2001
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 4319, Medical Imaging 2001: Visualization, Display, and Image-Guided Procedures, (28 May 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.428113
Show Author Affiliations
Jayaram K. Udupa, Univ. of Pennsylvania (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4319:
Medical Imaging 2001: Visualization, Display, and Image-Guided Procedures
Seong Ki Mun, Editor(s)

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