Virtual Colonoscopy: from real to virtual pain
Virtual colonoscopy can be executed in three different ways. It is possible to have a free fly-through examination as well as a fly-through to a predefined spot, depending on the physician's judgement. The high qualified tools also permit collision detection which constitutes a third approach to the colon problem. In either case, the patient needn't undergo but a quarter of the radiation quantity instead of half of it in the conventional colonoscopy. Virtual colonoscopy has the additional advantage of a quicker patient's recovery, as Marsh points out.
Anyway, a clear definition of virtual reality remains difficult to offer. Marsh has therefore tried to bring some formal structure into the virtual world by defining twenty building blocks to prevent that virtual reality should merely be utilised for technology's sake. By means of Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML), a 3-D representation of the body can be provided for. In a certain way, we move to a visualisation of reality instead of virtual reality, according to Marsh. To his idea, hospitals will become the cave simulators of the future.
The US project ANALYZE, lead by the Mayo Clinic in San Diego, California, comprises of over sixty programs allowing fully interactive display,manipulation and measurement of multidimensional image data. This technique is forming the basis for developing virtual surgery and surgery
planning techniques, such as Virtual Reality Assisted Surgery Program (VRASP) which is being developed at the Mayo Clinic. Marsh fully promotes the creation of a meta-centre to share computational support and is referring to the birth of Internet 2 in the USA as a similar initiative.
Virtual colonoscopy is but an element in a revolutionary change in medical approach. VMW reported on the twenty Euromed building blocks in the November issue and continues to offer you a glance in the further evolution of it in this issue. You can find more details in the section analysis and of course on the Euromed web site.