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Building virtual models by postprocessing radiology images: A guide for anatomy faculty


  • Matthew D.B.S. Tam

    Corresponding author
    1. The Radiology Academy, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich, United Kingdom
    2. Department of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio
    • The Radiology Academy, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, The Cotman Centre, Colney Lane, Norwich NR4 7 UB, United Kingdom
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Radiology and radiologists are recognized as increasingly valuable resources for the teaching and learning of anatomy. State-of-the-art radiology department workstations with industry-standard software applications can provide exquisite demonstrations of anatomy, pathology, and more recently, physiology. Similar advances in personal computers and increasingly available software can allow anatomy departments and their students to build their own three-dimensional virtual models. Appropriate selection of a data-set, followed by processing and presentation are the key steps in creating virtual models. The construction, presentation, clinical application, and educational potential of postprocessed imaging techniques including multiplanar reformats, minimum intensity projections, segmentation, volume-rendering, surface-rendering, fly-throughs, virtual endoscopy, angiography, and cine-loops are reviewed using examples created with only a personal computer and freeware software. Although only static images are presented in this article, further material is available online within the electronic version of this article. Through the use of basic and advanced image reconstruction and also paying attention to optimized presentation and integration, anatomy courses can be strengthened with appropriate radiological material. There are several key advantages for the anatomy department, which is equipped with the ability to produce virtual models using radiology images: (1) Opportunities to present anatomy using state-of-the-art technology as an adjunct to current practices, (2) a means to forge an improved relationship with the local radiology department, and (3) the ability to create material locally, which is integrated with the local curriculum avoiding the problem of information overload when using the internet or other commercially available resources. Anat Sci Educ 3:261–266, 2010. © 2010 American Association of Anatomists.