Three dimensional ultrasound imaging
Three-dimensional ultrasound (3DUS) has become an increasingly important component of clinical imaging. While early applications have been focused on cardiac, obstetric, and gynecologic applications its capabilities continue to expand throughout the clinical arena. This expansion is driven by important improvements in technology, image quality and clinical ease of use. This paper will provide a brief review of the technology behind 3D and 4D ultrasound imaging, clinical considerations in acquiring, displaying and analyzing 3D/4D ultrasound data and the clinical contributions this exciting technology is making. Index Terms—Three-dimensional, ultrasound, volume imaging
Ultrasound is a versatile imaging technique that can reveal the internal structure of organs, often with astounding clarity. Ultrasound is unique in its ability to image patient anatomy and physiology in real time, providing an important, rapid and noninvasive means of evaluation. Ultrasound continues to make significant contributions to patient care by reassuring patients and enhancing their quality of life by helping physicians understand their anatomy in ways not possible with other techniques.
Three-dimensional ultrasound (3DUS) is an increasingly important area of ultrasound development . 3DUS exploits the real-time capability of ultrasound to build a volume that can then be explored using increasingly affordable highperformance workstations. 3DUS is a logical evolution of ultrasound technology and complements other parallel developments underway at this time, including harmonic imaging and the development of ultrasound contrast materials. The continued clinical acceptance of 3DUS depends on three broad areas: these are volumetric data acquisition, volume data analysis and volume display. The particular strategy chosen by a vendor significantly shapes the scanner performance and resultant clinical versatility. A fourth consideration underlies the others, but ultimately will play a significant role affecting the clinical acceptance of the 3DUS. That is, the performance of 3DUS scanning systems must meet or exceed that of current 2DUS imaging systems with respect to image quality, features and interactivity.
This paper will provide a brief review of the technology behind 3D and 4D ultrasound imaging, clinical considerations in acquiring, displaying and analyzing 3D/4D ultrasound data and the clinical contributions this exciting technology is making.
II. EQUIPMENT DESIGN
Design of clinically useful scanning equipment is crucially dependent on having an easy-to-use system that provides rapid feedback to the clinician user in a straightforward manner. While superb image quality is expected, it also is important to avoid an overabundance of bells and whistles that often distract and overwhelm users rather than enhance the clinical imaging experience. Fundamental to an optimal operational environment is a highly functional, ergonomically designed user interface