Displaying 3D Medical Images In 2D ‘Leads To Dissociation’

Researchers have found that although 3D (also known as volumetric) imaging technology is used in medical settings, the images captured during the scanning process are more often than not displayed on a 2D monitor.

They found that, because observers treat the stack of 2D images they are presented with as a series of independent 2D images, there is a dissociation whereby observers are more efficient at localising larger targets in the 2D images, but the reverse is true for 3D images, where they are more efficient at localising smaller targets.

Medical Xpress reported on the findings by researchers from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at University of California, Santa Barbara, where they evaluated human performance in localisation tasks that involved searching 2D or 3D images.

Craig K. Abbey, one of the researchers involved in the project, commented: “The somewhat surprising finding of the paper was that the classification images showed almost no evidence of combining information over multiple sections of the image to localise a target that spans multiple sections of the image.”

The team also acknowledged that their findings warrant further investigation. However, this supports the need to provide multiple views in 3D image reading.

Meanwhile, Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry recently reported on another study where researchers used two different medical imaging techniques (magnetic resonance and near-infrared imaging) to help surgeons visualise tumours both before and during surgery.

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