New views of male pelvic anatomy: Role of computer-generated 3D images

Venuti, Judith M.; Imielinska, Celina Z.; Molholt, Pat A.

There is considerable controversy concerning the role of cadaveric dissection in teaching gross anatomy and the potential of using 3D computer-generated images to substitute for actual laboratory dissections. There are currently few high-quality 3D virtual models of anatomy available to evaluate the utility of computer-generated images. Existing 3D models are frequently of structures that are easily examined in three dimensions by removal from the cadaver, i.e., the heart, skull, and brain. We have focused on developing a 3D model of the pelvis, a region that is conceptually difficult and relatively inaccessible for student dissection. We feel students will benefit tremendously from 3D views of the pelvic anatomy. We generated 3D models of the male pelvic anatomy from hand-segmented color Visible Human Male cryosection data, reconstructed and visualized by Columbia University's in-house 3D Vesalius Visualizer.1 These 3D models depict the anatomy of the region in a realistic true-to-life color and texture. They can be used to create 3D anatomical scenes, with arbitrary complexity, where the component anatomical structures are displayed in correct 3D anatomical relationships. Moreover, a sequence of 3D scenes can be defined to simulate actual dissection. Structures can be added in a layered sequence from the bony framework to build from the "inside-out" or disassembled much like a true laboratory dissection from the "outside-in." These 3D reconstructed anatomical models can provide views of the structures from new perspectives and have the potential to improve understanding of the anatomical relationships of the pelvic region (


Also Published In

Clinical Anatomy

More About This Work

Academic Units
Radiation Oncology
Published Here
August 13, 2012