Three-dimensional free-hand ultrasound imaging system for medical applications

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Date
2001
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Wang, Bo
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Amin, Viren
Jacobson, Doug
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Abstract
This thesis has developed a PC-based 3D free-hand ultrasound system using conventional ultrasound scanner. The 3D ultrasound system developed is used for carotid and brachial artery scanning to evaluate vessel wall characteristics, which have strong relationship to traditional atherosclerotic risk factors. A free-hand system is described. A data acquisition system is implemented to capture image stream from the ultrasound scanner and position information from the position sensor. A key requirement for 3D reconstruction is calibration of the free-hand system. The mathematical framework for calibration is described. A calibration phantom is designed, which is easy to make, easy to use, and offers very good performance. Automatic center detection is proposed for our calibration phantom, which greatly speeds up the calibration process. A manual segmentation tool is implemented to process the 2D ultrasound images. We use pixel nearest neighbor interpolation for our reconstruction, which is simple and fast. In order to avoid artifacts and large holes for reconstructed volume, our system requires the user to give a reference slice for each scanning and acquire enough B- scan images. Volume rendering and surface rendering for the reconstructed volume are developed using VC++ and VTK library based on OpenGL standards. Currently the software for our 3D ultrasound system is implemented separately for each component. Algorithms and software tools developed for data-acquisition and calibration, ultrasound image processing, reconstruction, and visualization could be integrated into a single user-interface for ease in use by ultrasonographer or clinician. A design and approach for such an integrated software system are proposed and described. Preliminary experiments on carotid artery 3D scanning are done and future directions are proposed for developing the system further for this application.
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