Display and Visualization of Three-Dimensional Reconstructed Anatomic Morphology: Experience with the Thorax, Heart, and Coronary Vasculature of Dogs

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A new method, termed reprojection, is used to visualize anatomic morphology contained within three-dimensional reconstructions made up of images of multiple parallel cross sections. This method involves the projection, either orthographically onto a plane or radially onto a cylinder, of the volume picture elements (voxels) of the reconstruction. Orthographic reprojection images, formed by mathematically summing the magnitudes of the voxels along selected parallel paths through the reconstructed volume, are analagous to conventional radiographs formed by the passage of an X-ray beam through the volume. The reprojection image is a two-dimensional array of picture elements that is displayed on a television monitor using a digital-to-video scan converter. Also described are the techniques of noninvasive selective tissue dissolution and numerical dissection, whereby obscuring portions of the reconstructed volume are either partially “dissolved” or totally eliminated before reprojection. Utilizing these methods, anatomic information present in a three-dimensional reconstruction but not clearly seen in a reprojection image is rendered visible after removal of superposed structures. The usefulness of these methods is demonstrated utilizing three-dimensional reconstructions of the thorax, heart, and coronary arteries of dogs.

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