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A fast 3-D ultrasound projection imaging method for scoliosis assessment

1 College of Computer Science & Technology, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, China
2 State Key Laboratory of Bioelectronics, School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China
3 Interdisciplinary Division of Biomedical Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
4 College of Mechatronics and Control Engineering, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, China

Special Issues: Advanced Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine

Applying ultrasound for scoliosis assessment has been an attractive topic over the past decade. This study proposed a new fast 3-D ultrasound projection imaging method to evaluate the spine deformity. A narrow-band rendering method was used to generate the coronal images based on B-mode images and their corresponding positional data. The non-planar reslicing method, which followed the natural spine curve, was used to project the complete spine data into the coronal image. The repeatability of the new method was tested. A comparison experiment on the reconstructed images and the processing time between the conventional 3-D rendering method and the developed projection imaging method was also performed among 70 patients with scoliosis. The intra- and inter-operator tests results demonstrated very good repeatability (ICC ≥ 0.90). The mean processing times for the developed projection method and conventional rendering method were 15.07 ± 0.03 s and 130.31 ± 35.07 s, respectively. The angle measurement results showed a high correlation (y = 0.984x, r = 0.954) between the images obtained using the two methods. The above results indicated that the developed projection imaging method could greatly decrease the processing time while preserving the comparative image quality. It can be expected that this novel method may help to provide fast 3-D ultrasound diagnosis of scoliosis in clinics.
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