News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | November 21, 2016

Researchers Generate 3-D Virtual Reality Models of Unborn Babies

 3D ultrasound

November 21, 2016 — Parents may soon be able to watch their unborn babies grow in realistic 3-D immersive visualizations, thanks to new technology that transforms magnetic rasonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound data into a 3-D virtual reality model of a fetus, according to research being presented next week at the 2016 meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

MRI provides high-resolution fetal and placental imaging with excellent contrast. It is generally used in fetal evaluation when ultrasound cannot provide sufficiently high-quality images.

Researchers in Brazil created virtual reality 3-D models based on fetal MRI results. Sequentially-mounted MRI slices are used to begin construction of the model. A segmentation process follows in which the physician selects the body parts to be reconstructed in 3-D. Once an accurate 3-D model is created — including the womb, umbilical cord, placenta and fetus — the virtual reality device can be programmed to incorporate the model.

"The 3-D fetal models combined with virtual reality immersive technologies may improve our understanding of fetal anatomical characteristics and can be used for educational purposes and as a method for parents to visualize their unborn baby," said study co-author Heron Werner Jr., M.D., Ph.D., from the Clínica de Diagnóstico por Imagem, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The virtual reality fetal 3-D models are remarkably similar to the postnatal appearance of the newborn baby. They recreate the entire internal structure of the fetus, including a detailed view of the respiratory tract, which can aid doctors in assessing abnormalities.

For the virtual reality device, Werner and colleagues used the latest-generation Oculus Rift 2 headset. Oculus Rift 2 places the user in an immersive environment, complete with heartbeat sounds derived from the ultrasound of the fetus. Users can study the 3-D fetal anatomy simply by moving their head.

"The experience with the Oculus Rift has been wonderful," Werner said. "It provides fetal images that are sharper and clearer than ultrasound and MR images viewed on a traditional display."

The technology has numerous potential applications, including assessment of fetal airway patency. Airway patency, or the state of airways being open and unblocked, is an important issue for a developing fetus. For example, if ultrasound showed an abnormal mass near the fetal airway, physicians could use the 3-D images and the headset to assess the entire length of the airway and make better informed decisions about delivery.

The technology also can help coordinate care with multidisciplinary teams and provide better visual information to parents to help them understand malformations and treatment decisions.

"The physicians can have access to an immersive experience on the clinical case that they are working on, having the whole internal structure of the fetus in 3-D in order to better visualize and share the morphological information," Werner said. "We believe that these images will help facilitate a multidisciplinary discussion about some pathologies in addition to bringing a new experience for parents when following the development of their unborn child."

The researchers have used the technique on patients at a clinic in Rio de Janeiro, including cases where the fetus had evidence of an abnormality that required postnatal surgery. They hope to use the technology more broadly over the next year.   

Co-authors on the study are Bianca Guedes Ribeiro, M.D., Jorge Lopes, Ph.D., Gerson Ribeiro, Pedro Daltro, M.D., Tatiana M. Fazecas, M.D., Renata A. Nogueira, M.D., and Leise Rodrigues, M.D.

For more information: RadiologyInfo.org

Related Content

EchoGo Pro automates cardiac ultrasound measurements for heart functions, but also empower physicians to predict the occurrence of coronary artery disease (CAD).

EchoGo Pro automates cardiac ultrasound measurements for heart functions, but also empower physicians to predict the occurrence of coronary artery disease (CAD).

News | Cardiovascular Ultrasound | September 25, 2020
September 25, 2020 — Based on its recent analysis of the global...
The cartilage in this MRI scan of a knee is colorized to show greater contrast between shades of gray.

The cartilage in this MRI scan of a knee is colorized to show greater contrast between shades of gray. Image courtesy of Kundu et al. (2020) PNAS

News | Artificial Intelligence | September 22, 2020
September 22, 2020 — Researchers at the University of Pitts...
A new report, Magnetic Resonance Imaging Equipment Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, conducted by Fortune Business Insights, states that the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment market reached $7.24 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $11.36 billion by 2027

Image courtesy of Siemens Healthineers

Feature | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | September 21, 2020 | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane
A new report,...
Of all the buzzwords one would have guessed would dominate 2020, few expected it to be “virtual”. We have been virtualizing various aspects of our lives for many years, but the circumstances of this one has moved almost all of our lives into the virtual realm.

Getty Images

Feature | Radiology Education | September 18, 2020 | By Jef Williams
Of all the buzzwords one would have guessed would dominate 2020, few expected it to be “virtual”.
Figure 1. Doppler flows in subpleural consolidation shows smoothly dilated branching arteries

Figure 1. Doppler flows in subpleural consolidation shows smoothly dilated branching arteries 

Feature | Radiology Imaging | September 17, 2020 | By Robert Bard, M.D. PC, DABR, FASLM
COVID-19 is routinely studied using...
Ultrasound-guided carpal tunnel release quickly improves hand function and reduces hand discomfort, making the procedure a safe, effective, and less invasive alternative to traditional open or endoscopic surgery

Patients answered three questionnaires (Quick-Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand [QDASH] and two parts of the Boston Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Questionnaire: symptom severity [BCTSQ-SS] and functional status [BCTSQ-FS] scales) assessing the affected wrist's function and discomfort immediately pre-procedure, 2 weeks post-procedure, and at least one year post-procedure. Infographic courtesy of the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS), American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR)

News | Ultrasound Imaging | September 17, 2020
September 17, 2020 — According to ARRS' American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR),...
Feature | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | September 15, 2020
September 15, 2020 — The world is facing a global pandemic with unknown implications, but it is now well known ...
Videos | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | September 15, 2020
Case is a 6-month-old infant boy admitted to hospital due to respiratory distress then worsened by a pericardial effu
The Epiq CVxi being used for TEE imaging in the cath lab. The system brings together advanced image quality, quantification and intelligence specifically for the cardiologist.

The Epiq CVxi being used for TEE imaging in the cath lab. The system brings together advanced image quality, quantification and intelligence specifically for the cardiologist.

News | Ultrasound Imaging | September 15, 2020
September 15, 2020 — Philips Healthcare recently introduced the latest addition to its portfolio of dedicated...