3D Ultrasound Technology- Future Vision 4


3D ultrasound of IUD in uterus

3D Visualization is one of the concepts I spoke about in my session on FutureVision- The Coming Radical Transformation of Surgery at the AAGL meeting.  In gyn, the use of 3D ultrasound has become commonplace.  In general, an imaging machine (ultrasound, CT, or MRI can all do it) takes a series of images of an entire region of the body (not just one image).  Then a computer can analyze these.  Since the computer knows where each images is in relation to the next it can perform complex analysis and reformat and process the images.  As a result you can get any view you want from any angle as if you were looking around inside the organ.  In gyn this is very valuable since the uterus is usually tilted.  Regular ultrasound gives just an angled view but here the computer can fix that. 


Here is the regular 2D view - the IUD is the bright central line and should be T-shaped


Here is the computer corrected straight view

What’s even more exciting for the future: The technology now exists to do this 3D manipulation in real time from ultrasound and CT scans.  That means it can be used to guide surgery in another example of technology providing vision beyond that of the surgeon’s eyes alone.  There is a huge field of “virtual endoscopy” where this xray technique is used to provide images as if the surgeon had inserted a tube into the body but non-invasively.  As computing power expands the speed and resolution of these systems will expand according to Moore’s law.  Regular endoscopy will largely be replaced for diagnostic uses. 

Coming soon: more reviews of virtual endoscopy technology

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