Three-dimensional virtual dissection at CT colonography: Unraveling the colon to search for lesions

Alvin C. Silva, Clinton V. Wellnitz, Amy K. Hara

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Computed tomographic (CT) colonography is a promising noninvasive examination for colorectal cancer screening; however, the optimal interpretation strategy remains undecided. Virtual dissection is an innovative technique whereby the three-dimensional (3D) model of the colon is virtually unrolled, sliced open, and displayed as a flat 3D rendering of the mucosal surface, similar to a gross pathologic specimen. This technique has the potential to reduce evaluation time by providing a more rapid 3D image assessment than is possible with an antegrade and retrograde 3D endoluminal fly-through. It may also ultimately improve accuracy by reducing blind spots present with 3D endoluminal displays and by reducing reader fatigue. A disadvantage of virtual dissection is the potential for distortion of colonic lesions and normal anatomy. To avoid potential pitfalls in image interpretation, the radiologist must be familiar with the unique appearance of the normal colon anatomy and of various pathologic findings when using virtual dissection with two-dimensional axial and 3D endoluminal CT colonographic image data sets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1669-1686
Number of pages18
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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