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IEEE J Biomed Health Inform. 2017 Jul;21(4):1005-1014. doi: 10.1109/JBHI.2016.2565502. Epub 2016 May 10.

Occlusion and Slice-Based Volume Rendering Augmentation for PET-CT.


Dual-modality positron emission tomography and computed tomography (PET-CT) depicts pathophysiological function with PET in an anatomical context provided by CT. Three-dimensional volume rendering approaches enable visualization of a two-dimensional slice of interest (SOI) from PET combined with direct volume rendering (DVR) from CT. However, because DVR depicts the whole volume, it may occlude a region of interest, such as a tumor in the SOI. Volume clipping can eliminate this occlusion by cutting away parts of the volume, but it requires intensive user involvement in deciding on the appropriate depth to clip. Transfer functions that are currently available can make the regions of interest visible, but this often requires complex parameter tuning and coupled preprocessing of the data to define the regions. Hence, we propose a new visualization algorithm where an SOI from PET is augmented by volumetric contextual information from a DVR of the counterpart CT so that the obtrusiveness from the CT in the SOI is minimized. Our approach automatically calculates an augmentation depth parameter by considering the occlusion information derived from the voxels of the CT in front of the PET SOI. The depth parameter is then used to generate an opacity weight function that controls the amount of contextual information visible from the DVR. We outline the improvements with our visualization approach compared to other slice-based and our previous approaches. We present the preliminary clinical evaluation of our visualization in a series of PET-CT studies from patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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