Scan Times

Weblog of the Department of Radiology

3D Laboratory Celebrates Ten Years of Service

Posted 09:43 AM, April 30, 2007, by jaruiz

By Laura J. Pierce, MPA, RT (CT)

3D lab group photo taken March 2007 (image courtesy of Mark Riesenberger). First row (L to R): Sandy Napel, PhD, 3D lab Co-Director; Laura Pierce, MPA, RT (CT); Geoffrey Rubin, MD, 3D lab Co-Director; Second row (L to R): Kala Raman, MS; Keshni Kumar, CRT; Linda Novello, RT (MRI); Third row (L to R): Noe Hinojosa, RT (CT); William Johnsen, RT (CV) (RCIS); Lakeesha Winston; and Marc Sofilos, RT.

In September 2006, the Stanford 3D Medical Imaging Laboratory celebrated a decade of service to the Stanford Medical community. When the 3D Medical Imaging Laboratory was established in 1996, we had 300 square feet of space in the basement of the Grant building, occupied by one 3D imaging technologist (Laura Logan), and seven engineering students, postdoctoral fellows, and clinical researchers. The average monthly 3D volume was 64 examinations. Today, we have 1300 square feet of space in our two labs and six 3D imaging technologists: Laura Pierce, 3D Lab Manager (formerly Laura Logan); Marc Sofilos; Linda Novello; Keshni Kumar; William Johnsen; and our newest technologist, Noe Hinojosa. We also employ a full-time administrative assistant, Lakeesha Winston, and a software engineer, Kala Raman. The lab retains an annual average of twelve engineering graduate students and postdoctoral fellows as well as two clinical MD researchers. Our average monthly 3D volume has increased more than ten fold to 750 examinations.

In 1996, Co-Directors Geoffrey Rubin, MD, and Sandy Napel, PhD, created the 3D laboratory with the mission of developing and applying innovative techniques for the efficient analysis and display of medical imaging data through interdisciplinary collaboration. Ten years later, this mission continues to drive our operations and infuses our clinical, educational, and research goals. Clinically, our objective is to deliver 3D imaging advances as rapidly as possible following validation by the Stanford and worldwide healthcare communities. The 3D laboratory operates simultaneously in two locations: the first floor of the Lucas Center in P170 and the third floor of the James H. Clark Center in room S344 (next door to Peet's Coffee). We have processed over 44,000 examinations since our inception in 1996 (see figure 1). The lab provides 3D services for nearly every clinical department at the Stanford Medical Center. Ninety percent of our referrals are from CT examinations; the remainder is from MRI studies. With rapid advances in CT and MRI scanning over the past ten years, our 3D examinations now provide a larger range of coverage with better temporal and spatial resolution (see images 1, 2, and 3).

Our educational aim is to disseminate knowledge and duplicate our 3D services at other institutions by providing training for local and international physicians and technologists in the latest developments in 3D imaging. The 3D lab is attended by a rotation of Stanford Radiology fellows, residents, and medical students who are acquiring skills in 3D interpretation, which will be useful in their future clinical practices. In response to the external demand for 3D imaging training, the 3D lab has sponsored an increasing number of domestic and international visiting radiologists and technologists who have sought training through our 3D clinical fellowship program. We average three to five visiting fellows per month from a combination of local, national, and international hospitals and medical centers.

To fulfill our research goals, we are developing new approaches to the exploration and analysis of diagnostic images that will create new and more cost-effective diagnostic approaches as well as new techniques for the design and planning of therapy. The students and fellows we educate also make important contributions to our research by developing new image processing techniques. Professor Sandy Napel is the advisor of several PhD candidates and, occasionally, postdoctoral fellows. Each does research on a challenging area of image processing, such as the computer-aided detection of cancerous polyps on CT colon studies.

As we enter our second decade, the 3D Medical Imaging Lab continues to function as an international leader in clinical care, teaching, and research in medical imaging analysis. The confluence of talented medical and engineering expertise in our Department as well as the most up-to-date equipment has been a consistent source of innovative developments in our diagnostic and treatment planning approaches.

Figure 1. Annual volume of exams processed by the 3D laboratory over the past ten years.

Image 1. Example of a full-range maximum intensity projection (MIP) from 1996. This 3D image was acquired on a GE Advantage Windows workstation.

Image 2. Example of a full-range aorto-iliac runoff CT angiogram (MIP) image from 2006. Notice the improved spatial resolution and increased anatomical coverage. This image was acquired on a GE Advantage Windows workstation.

Image 3. Volume Rendered 3D image of the heart, demonstrating improved temporal resolution.


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