Gianluigi PILU, Tullio GHI
Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of Bologna, Italy
One of the greatest appeals of three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound is the possibility to analyze a stored volume using multiple section planes. The advantage is that, on one hand, these scanning planes can be directed with absolute precision, on the other hand, it is possible to reconstruct virtual planes that are physically impossible to visualize directly. The use of this approach ion the investigation of the uterus and of fetal anatomy has been described in many publications.
While performing a multiplanar analysis of a volume it is frequently convenient to employ Volume Contrast Imaging (VCI) (General Electric Healthcare) an application that consists in displaying a slice of variable thickness. One of the main purposes of this technique is to decrease ultrasound artifacts. By superimposing and adding different layers of tissue, speckles and noise pixels that are generated at random, are reduced or eliminated, while anatomical structures are enhanced. This results in an image that displays less noise pixels and has greater contrast resolution. It is yet to be demonstrated whether VCI increases the amount of information over standard multiplanar visualization. However, the images tend to be smoother and the contrast resolution is certainly enhanced.
However, thus far, multiplanar analysis could only be performed along the three orthogonal planes and using straight sections. We have had recently the opportunity to use the new release of the Voluson E-Series (GE Healthcare) with Advanced VCI and Omniview that allows to dissect a volume along plane even using curvilinear or irregular cuts.
We have found this tool to be particularly useful in a number of different situations, particularly when dealing with complex anatomy. In the following we will try to summarize our experience thus far inthe attempt to delineate the modalities and ﬁ elds of application of this new tool.