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2-D to 3-D conversion: The future of medical imaging

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December 12, 2017
by Harold L. Bendelstein, MD, Director, Far Rockaway ENT, and CEO, 3D MCS, Medical Conversion System, Far Rockaway, N.Y.


Advances in computer software technology have spurred the creation of numerous devices with a myriad of capabilities. None is more striking than the progress in rendering images on monitors and video sources, especially in 3-D representations.

3-D advanced converter cutting-edge technology is a major breakthrough in this rapidly burgeoning field. 2-D to 3-D conversion is a mainstay of today's film industry. Hardly a major project is completed that does not undergo a 3-D conversion process for insertion into the public domain. While these activities yield remarkable 3-D visualization, they are constrained by the time involved in the process.

Engineering manipulations to create the 3-D effect can take months to perform, as the procedure requires a frame-by-frame transformation. Advanced 3-D conversion software development overcomes this limitation. Highly advanced and encrypted algorithms have been devised to allow the 2-D to 3-D conversion in high definition with medical-grade quality and accuracy in real time with no lag.

This technology is the present state of the art in visual effects. It merely requires the input of any digital source of 720 pixels or greater to allow the software to engage effectively. Today's electronic market manufactures virtually all units at this threshold or beyond. This capability allows for conversion of virtually any input that can be digitally infused. Images derived from laptops, pictorial representations, videos, and direct camera renderings of surgical procedures can all be easily converted into 3-D. In otolaryngology, this would include images from functional endoscopic sinus surgery procedures, laryngoscopies, strobe analysis, ear surgeries, and other procedures.

Beyond this, an otolaryngologist in his/her office can record surgical or diagnostic procedures in 2-D and perform post-analysis in 3-D visualizations. Even computed tomography and magnetic resonance images are currently being studied for the feasibility of their manipulation under this conversion system.

Some major companies have developed dual-lens system devices. Their basic mechanism requires a mandatory apparatus with two lenses for stereopsis. Such a construct may allow 3-D images to be formatted, but nothing more. The equipment must be large enough to accommodate a double amount of lensing hardware. Small-bore or any single-lens source simply cannot be utilized, and there is no capacity to modify digital sources for 3-D visual effects on any dual-lens system. Moreover, such units require dedicated equipment and specific endoscopic and camera systems, which make the cost prohibitive for the average practitioner.

Several units on the market can yield 3-D imaging, but the author has founded a company that developed a more versatile advanced system for 2-D to 3-D rendering, offering advantageous parameters beyond those of present-day systems. The new system appears to have unique benefits, such as extreme independence from external influences and an unparalleled adaptability to a wide array of interfaces. In this regard, the new computer system technology functions with virtually all existing endoscopes, cameras, and digital sources.

There is growing research support for the use of 3-D technology for surgical, educational, and medical office activities. Studies have shown that in the performance of minimally invasive procedures, accuracy and two-point discrimination are greatly enhanced by 3-D representations. As such, surgical procedures and endoscopies with 3-D systems contribute to better task performance, speed, and accuracy.

Target acquisition studies have been used to confirm accuracy in mechanical procedures, and the results of using 3-D imagery have substantial advantages. 3-D advanced converter technology has potential advantages for many otolaryngologic procedures, and is now sufficiently affordable to permit wider use and more clinical research.



Suggested reading

  1. Buia A, Stockhausen F, Filmann N, Hanisch E. 3D vs. 2D imaging in laparoscopic surgery-an advantage? Results of standardised black box training in laparoscopic surgery. Langenbecks Arch Surg 2017; 402 (1): 167-71.
  2. Cicione A, Autorino R, Breda A, et al. Three-dimensional vs standard laparoscopy: Comparative assessment using a validated program for laparoscopic urologic skills. Urology 2013; 82 (6): 1444-50.
  3. Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons. Real-time 2d-3d image converting software with a monocular small camera toward the lesser invasive laparoscopic surgery. www.sages.org/meetings/annual-meeting/abstracts-archive/real-time-2d-3d-image-converting-software-with-a-monocular-small-camera-toward-the-lesser-invasive-laparoscopic-surgery. Last accessed October 31, 2017.
  4. Tanagho YS, Andriole GL, Paradis AG, et al. 2D versus 3D visualization: Impact on laparoscopic proficiency using the fundamentals of laparoscopic surgery skill set. J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A 2012; 22 (9): 865-70.
Department of Otolaryngology, New York Brooklyn Community Hospital, Weill-Cornell Medical Center, New York City
Ear Nose Throat J. 2017 December;96(12):450-451