Spiral Computed Tomographic Colonography: Determination of the Central Axis and Digital Unraveling of the Colon

Elizabeth G. McFarland, Ge Wang, James A. Brink, Dennis M. Balfe, Jay P. Heiken, Michael W. Vannier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives. The authors developed and tested automated and semiautomated bowel-lumen tracking and colon-unraveling techniques for determining the central axis of the bowel. Methods. A computer-simulated gastrointestinal tract phantom was used to test the accuracy of an automated algorithm for central axis determination and bowel unraveling. Variations in cross-sectional features between straight and unraveled formats were compared in a canine bowel segment in vitro and a human colon in vivo by using spiral computed tomography. Three readers each performed three semiautomated evaluations. Results. Accuracy of the automated algorithm was confirmed by the high degree of correlation in the cross-sectional feature measurements (length error, <1%). For the canine colon segment, accuracy of the semiautomated algorithm was confirmed by comparison with the automated tracing. For the human colon, readings were reproducible with 3.3% (± 1.9 standard deviation) mean variation in length. Conclusion. An automated algorithm for central axis deterioration and unraveling the colon has been validated in a gastrointestinal tract phantom. A semiautomated algorithm has been shown to be reproducible and time-efficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-373
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1997


  • Colon, CT
  • Colon, neoplasms
  • Computed tomography (CT), image processing
  • Images, analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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