Multidetector computed-tomography (MDCT) scanners provide large high-resolution three-dimensional (3-D) images of the chest. MDCT scanning, when used in tandem with bronchoscopy, provides a state-of-the-art approach for lung-cancer assessment. We have been building and validating a lung-cancer assessment system, which enables virtual-bronchoscopic 3-D MDCT image analysis and follow-on image-guided bronchoscopy. A suitable path planning method is needed, however, for using this system. We describe a rapid, robust method for computing a set of 3-D airway-tree paths from MDCT images. The method first defines the skeleton of a given segmented 3-D chest image and then performs a multistage refinement of the skeleton to arrive at a final tree structure. The tree consists of a series of paths and branch structural data, suitable for quantitative airway analysis and smooth virtual navigation. A comparison of the method to a previously devised path-planning approach, using a set of human MDCT images, illustrates the efficacy of the method. Results are also presented for human lung-cancer assessment and the guidance of bronchoscopy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Computer Science Applications
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering