Fast surface and volume rendering based on shear-warp factorization for a surgical simulator.Comput Aided Surg. 2002; 7(5):268-78.CA
Fast simultaneous visualization of 3D medical images and medical instruments is necessary for a surgical simulator. Because unconstrained motion of a medical instrument is more frequent than that of the patient, the visualization of medical instruments is performed in real time using surface rendering. However, volume rendering is usually used for realistic visualization of the 3D medical image. We have developed an algorithm to combine a volume-rendered image and a surface-rendered image using a Z-buffer for depth cueing, which is applied to a surgical simulator. Surface rendering is used for visualization of a medical instrument, whereas 3D medical images such as CT and MRI are usually visualized by volume rendering, because segmentation of the medical image is difficult. In this study, when the volume-rendered image is combined with the surface-rendered image, the amount of computation is reduced by early ray termination and instrument-region masking in the sheared image space. Using these methods, a fast combination of volume-rendered and surface-rendered images is performed with high image quality. The method is appropriate for real-time visualization of 3D medical images and medical instrument motion in the images, and can be applied to image-guided therapy and surgical simulators.