The patent's assignee is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The medical imaging apparatus including such as an ultrasonic imaging apparatus or a magnetic resonance imaging apparatus obtains the image of a portion of the diagnosing object that includes a fetus and constructs a three-dimensional image of the fetus using a volume rendering method for example, and display the three-dimensional image on a display screen.
"The volume rendering method constructs, using the volume image data of the diagnosing object, a three-dimensional image of the fetus as seen from an arbitrary viewing point based on a plural of voxel image data that lie on the line of sight to the fetus.
"However, since voxel data of a placenta are located closer to the viewing point than the voxel data of the fetus, a clear image of the fetus cannot be obtained from the volume data that contain voxel data of the placenta and the fetus due to the fact that the voxel image data the placenta affect the image of the fetus.
"Thus, in order to obtain a clear three-dimensional image of the fetus, voxel image data lying between the viewing point and a precutting plane established at a precutting line set up at a point on the line of sight are removed so that a clear three-dimensional image of the fetus can be constructed from the remaing voxel image data. (See, for example, Patent Document 1 listed below.)"
As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "Object to be Solved by the Invention
"It is noted in the Patent Document 1, however, that since a diagnostician sets up a precutting plane based on a single precutting line, the depth-wise validity of the precutting plane established cannot be confirmed by the diagnostician until the diagnostician actually looks at a displayed three dimensional image of the fetus constructed.
"It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a medical imaging apparatus capable of confirming the validity of a precutting place to be set up. It is another object of the invention to provide a method of constructing a medical image that permits confirmation of the validity of such precutting plane.
"Means for Achieving the Object
"The present invention is adapted to: acquire volume image data composing plural number of cross-section region images of a diagnosing object obtained on the plural number of cross sections perpendicular to a line passing through the cross-section region images; construct a three-dimensional image of a diagnosing target of the diagnosing object as seen from a set viewing point, using the volume image data; display the cross-section region images of the diagnosing object or the three dimensional image of the diagnosing target; input parameters that includes parameters for setting up a precutting plane at an inter-voxel image data boundary between those voxel image data closer to the viewing point than the voxel image data associated with the diagnosing target of the diagnosing object and those voxel image data associated with the diagnosing target of the diagnosing object, using the cross-section region images of the diagnosing object displayed; control configuration of the three dimensional image of the diagnosing target based on the precutting plane thus set up; extract the inter-voxel image data boundary between the voxel image data based on a threshold value included in the setup parameters; reset the precutting plane based on the extracted boundary; and control configuration of the three dimensional image of the diagnosing target based on the precutting plane obtained by reset precutting plane.
"Results of the Invention
"The present invention can provide an apparatus and a method of constructing medical images. The invention permits confirmation as to whether or not a precutting plane is properly set up.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
"FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing a medical imaging apparatus according to one embodiment of the invention.
"FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing the hardware arrangement of an image constructing unit 5 shown in FIG. 1 and its peripheral unit.
"FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing the functions of the image constructing unit 5 and its peripheral units.
"FIG. 4 is a flowchart illustrating the characteristic arrangement of the apparatus according to said embodiment.
"FIG. 5 is exemplary ultrasonic images used to explain the flowchart of FIG. 4.
"FIG. 6 illustrates a procedure of resetting a precutting plane according to the flowchart of FIG. 4.
"FIG. 7 is a flowchart showing steps of modifying a precutting plane according to a second embodiment of the invention.
"FIG. 8 is diagram showing how a precutting plane can be modified in the procedure shown in FIG. 7.
"FIG. 9 is a diagram showing modified voxel image data after some voxel data are deleted according to the steps shown in FIG. 7.
"FIG. 10 explains the three orthogonal cross sections shown in FIG. 8.
"FIG. 11 illustrates a precutting plane resetting screen for resetting a precutting plane in accordance with the procedure shown in FIG. 7, and a three-dimensional image constructed on the basis of the altered precut volume data.
"FIG. 12 is a flowchart showing a procedure of modifying a precutting plane according to a third embodiment of the invention.
"FIG. 13 shows a procedure of setting up a precutting plane according to the third embodiment shown in FIG. 12.
"FIG. 14 shows a procedure of setting up a precutting plane according to the third embodiment shown in FIG. 12.
"FIG. 15 illustrates a precutting plane setting screen along with an exemplary three-dimensional image of a diagnosing object constructed.
"FIG. 16 illustrates a precutting plane setting screen along with an exemplary three-dimensional image of a diagnosing target constructed from precut volume image data.
"FIG. 17 illustrates another precutting plane setting screen.
"FIG. 18 illustrates a further precutting plane setting screen along with a three-dimensional image constructed."
For additional information on this patent application, see: Nishiura, Tomofumi. Medical Imaging Apparatus and Method of Constructing Medical Images. Filed
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