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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

ISSN Print: 0278-940X
ISSN Online: 1943-619X

Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.v36.i4.20
pages 267-314

The Technology and Performance of 4D Ultrasound

Sergei Obruchkov
St. Joseph's Healthcare and Department of Medical Physics and Applied Radiation Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario, Canada

ABSTRACT

Recent developments in 4D ultrasound imaging technology allow clinicians to obtain not only rich visual information but also quantitative data that can be used for diagnosis and treatment. Some argue that the extension of 2D ultrasound is unnecessary and does not offer any benefits to diagnosis, while others argue that it is possible to better assess an abnormality in 3D than 2D. Anatomy can be reconstructed in perspectives that were never seen with conventional 2D US imaging. Advanced rendering techniques in three dimensions can be customized to be sensitive to specific pathology, thus making diagnosis more accurate. Volume and function of certain anatomical components can be measured with greater accuracy.
This article reviews physical principles behind the ultrasound technology, how they are applied to advance the field of ultrasound imaging, and maybe reach its limits. Advances in ultrasound technology make 4D ultrasound imaging faster and less dependent on the operator's expertise, thus opening up more research possibilities in the fields of data processing and visualization.
Currently, 4D ultrasound is extensively used in the field of obstetrics and interven-tional radiology. The goal of 4D ultrasound is to overcome the limitations posed by its predecessor technology and to be more clinically useful as an imaging tool.