Physicians and health practitioners have limited access to anatomical information and documentation in their daily practice, while the anatomical and morphological information are increasingly relevant with the increasing role of medical imaging in clinical workups. Medical imaging has made considerable progress in the recent years and diagnostic pathways as well as patient follow-ups rely heavily on these techniques. Clinicians and referring physicians have access to their patients imaging record in electronic format and therefore require adequate tools for interpretation and visualization of these images. They also require adequate expertise in anatomical and morphological interpretation of imaging studies that are usually only in the training of radiologists and imaging specialists. Training and support tools are usually not available to general physicians. Such interactive tools could become of great help in assisting physicians in their daily practice.
In this context our project is aimed toward the development of an innovative tool for training and support in imaging anatomy. Based on an existing, Open Source software platform that is widely used around the world, we elected to develop an application that would provide the necessary data and images for training students and physicians in the anatomical interpretation of medical imaging studies. The tool, which is used for clinical interpretation of tomographic imaging techniques, can easily be applied to visualize anatomical data in different plane orientation and three-dimensional navigation. It can easily combine he anatomical images with corresponding images from CT and MRI modalities.
Relying on existing image collections such as the Visible Human (VHP), our project would provide an interactive teaching tool professionals and students that need training in interpretation of radiology anatomy from tomographic imaging techniques.
Anatomical data are obtained from published series of digitized cross section images obtained by cryosection of human cadavers, combined with images obtained by CT and MRI of the same individuals. The software provides the necessary 3D rendering tools that allow to “merge” anatomical image data with the corresponding CT and MR images in any orientation or oblique reformatted planes.
Integrating our project around existing medical imaging analysis and visualization software will enhance the training capability of such a tool for clinical applications. It will also provide the visualization and navigation tools that are currently available only for imaging specialists on advanced professional workstations. Users will also have the ability to enhance the content of the teaching database with annotations of specific anatomical landmarks as well as with additional sets of image data. These additional data could come from clinical cases with anatomical variants. That can progressively become a practical companion tool for better and more accurate interpretation of imaging studies in clinical routine. This new interactive tool for teaching and training physicians about anatomy could also become a convenient communication media between physicians and their patients when complex procedures or diagnosis need to be explained.