Evaluating virtual endoscopy for clinical use

Daniel J. Blezek, Richard A. Robb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Virtual endoscopy is a term used to describe computer simulated endoscopy procedures derived from high resolution images of patient anatomy. By simulating the endoscopic examination, the patient is spared the discomfort and possible complications of an actual examination. The physician also has more flexibility in a virtual endoscopic examination of 3D patient data in comparison to a real endoscopic examination. Virtual endoscopy removes the physical and physiologic constraints of real endoscopy and can create views that are not possible in an actual endoscopic examination. This may enhance the performance of actual endoscopic examinations. Virtual endoscopy may also be used to perform "numerical biopsies"; anatomic measurements such as size, distance, shape, and density. Virtual endoscopy allows the physician to comprehensively explore the patient anatomy using an intuitive and interactive interface. There are currently two technical approaches to performing virtual endoscopy: perspective volume rendering and surface rendering of polygonal models. Perspective volume rendering uses traditional volumetric rendering algorithms to create visualizations directly from the volumetric dataset. Polygonal models require a preprocessing step to convert the segmented volume information into a polygonal surface that may be displayed at real time frame rates. Both paradigms have inherent strengths and weaknesses. We illustrate and compare the methods on actual patient data, including simulated endoscopic examinations of the airways, colon and esophagus. Preliminary results in virtual endoscopy show promise and will continue to be an area of active research leading to useful clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-55
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Digital Imaging
Issue number3 SUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 1997


  • Surface rendering
  • Surgery planning
  • Virtual endoscopy
  • Volume rendering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluating virtual endoscopy for clinical use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this