orthopaedic applications

We use binocular vision every day in everyday life.  There are few surgeons who would prefer living - much less operating - with only one eye.  Binocular microscopes are in common usage in microvascular surgery, as are surgical loupes that give good stereoscopic vision.  Is there any reason that we should persist in viewing our imaging with one eye?  Do we continue listening to our music using monophonic gramophones?

The ability to perceive images tridimensionally can add to a overall understanding of a bony problem (the "personality" of the fracture or deformity).  Radiostereogrammetrical analysis (RSA) to measure prosthesis migration is currently the main use of stereoscopy in orthopaedics.  RSA devices are very accurate, often with accuracy of depth measurement in a stereo pair of 1mm or less.  Harnessing this ability to perceive depth in other clinical situations has a lot of potential.   When using stereoscopy the limitations of the technique must be kept in mind - it is an adjunct to currently available imaging modalities, not a replacement.

Stereoscopic endoscopy is an area which is being opened up by general, urological, and cardiothoracic surgeons.  There is potential use in orthopaedics, but due to current technical and cost limitations, we are not actively looking at development in this area at present.

Software for rendering volumetric CT and MRI data in stereo is available:  see the "opacity based rendering" page for details and a couple of quick tutorials on the subject.

Stereoscopic visuallization is a tool that is mainly useful in getting images with depth information as well as increasing the perceived resolution of the image by using both eyes.  Applications need only be limited by one's imagination.