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Courtesy of Siemens

Cinematic rendering generates photorealistic images using CT and MR data

by Lauren Dubinsky , Senior Reporter
A new 3-D reconstruction technique called cinematic rendering may one day replace standard volumetric rendering.

The technique uses CT and MR data to generate images resembling a photograph of a 3-D model. An article recently published in the American Journal of Roentgenology stated that it could be used to detect diseases in early stages, educating residents and enhancing communication between physicians and patients.

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CR generates more photorealistic images than VR because it simulates the propagation and interaction of light rays as they pass through volumetric data. Dr. U. Joseph Schoepf, one of the article’s authors and professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, believes this new technique has the potential to create a new paradigm in virtual anatomic visualization.

VR can be helpful for assessing complex anatomy, but it can also mask anatomical information and pathology, according to another article published in Insights Imaging in December. Visualizing imaging data with VR also never provides the reader with additional information.

The development of CR was inspired by the quality of computer animation programs used in the entertainment industry. The technology is not approved for clinical use, but various prototype software solutions available for research use.

Siemens Healthineers offers one such solution. In November 2015, HCB News spoke with Dr. Dorin Comaniciu, vice president of Siemens’ Medical Imaging Technologies, about how this technology came to be and what role it could play in the future.

"The images provided today by MR and CT have incredible resolution and so many details that are useful to the physician. However, sometimes they are difficult to visualize," Dorin said at the time.

The article in AJR stated that potential applications for CR include surgical planning for thoracic surgery, maxillofacial surgery and interventional radiology. This technology is also capable of improving physician-patient communication, which could lead to more informed decisions and compliance.

It explained that CR is currently limited by the amount of computer power that’s needed to generate the images. However, the next generation of rendering software and graphics processing hardware is expected to overcome that.

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