Author's School

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Author's Department/Program

Computer Science and Engineering


English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Cindy Grimm


Magnetic resonance imaging: MRI) and computed tomography: CT) scanners have long been used to produce three-dimensional samplings of anatomy elements for use in medical visualization and analysis. From such datasets, physicians often need to construct surfaces representing anatomical shapes in order to conduct treatment, such as irradiating a tumor. Traditionally, this is done through a time-consuming and error-prone process in which an experienced scientist or physician marks a series of parallel contours that outline the structures of interest. Recent advances in surface reconstruction algorithms have led to methods for reconstructing surfaces from nonparallel contours that could greatly reduce the manual component of this process. Despite these technological advances, the segmentation process has remained unchanged.

This dissertation takes the first steps toward bridging the gap between the new surface reconstruction technologies and bringing those methods to use in clinical practice. We develop VolumeViewer, a novel interface for modeling surfaces from volume data by allowing the user to sketch contours on arbitrarily oriented cross-sections of the volume. We design the algorithms necessary to support nonparallel contouring, and we evaluate the system with medical professionals using actual patient data. In this way, we begin to understand how nonparallel contouring can aid the segmentation process and expose the challenges associated with a nonparallel contouring system in practice.


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