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Virtual Autopsy Table Offers a New View of the Human Body

Posted on: May 29, 2015

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Danielle Ligenza

The combination of 3-D imaging and touch screen technology has enabled a breakthrough in our ability to examine the human body thanks to the Virtual Autopsy Table. The Virtual Autopsy Table allows medical professionals to explore the inside of a human body without the need for invasive surgical procedures. Such an approach is particularly well suited for medical training programs and police departments around the world.

For example, traditional postmortems during murder cases can take days to complete, and might only afford medical examiners one opportunity to look for clues. Such delays can significantly impede criminal investigations and corrupt evidence. With The Virtual Autopsy, the body is scanned using a computed tomography (CT) machine, creating approximately 25,000 images of each section of the body.

The software recognizes different tissues, bodily substances, and foreign objects and assigns them a density value. These values are then rendered into a 3-D image of the body. Medical personnel can then peel through layers of virtual skin and muscle with the touch of a screen as many times as necessary, without corrupting any tissue in the process.

The table also allows for up to six users to interact collaboratively, working with large and complex data that will allow medical experts to see problems that might have been difficult to see otherwise, assisting in pre-surgery planning. The Virtual Autopsy can also be used in medical training programs to complement conventional cadaver techniques to help students practice multiple procedures and gain a better understanding of the inner workings of the human anatomy.

The table is developed by Interactive Institute in collaboration with Norrköping Visualization Center and Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization (CMIV) in Linköping, Sweden.

Danielle Ligenza
About Danielle Ligenza

Danielle Ligenza was formerly the communications and public relations manager at Barton Associates’ Peabody, MA, headquarters. She received her B.A. and M.A. in political science from Boston University, and her J.D. from Notre Dame Law School.

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