Whitcomb MB, Doval J, Peters J.
Ultrasonography has gained increased utility to diagnose pelvic fractures in horses; however, internal pelvic contours can be difficult to appreciate from external palpable landmarks. We developed three-dimensional (3D) simulations of the pelvic ultrasonographic examination to assist with translation of pelvic contours into two-dimensional (2D) images. Contiguous 1 mm transverse computed tomography (CT) images were acquired through an equine femur and hemipelvis using a single slice helical scanner. 3D surface models were created using a DICOM reader and imported into a 3D modeling and animation program. The bone models were combined with a purchased 3D horse model and the skin made translucent to visualize pelvic surface contours. 3D models of ultrasound transducers were made from reference photos, and a thin sector shape was created to depict the ultrasound beam. Ultrasonographic examinations were simulated by moving transducers on the skin surface and rectally to produce images of pelvic structures. Camera angles were manipulated to best illustrate the transducer–beam–bone interface. Fractures were created in multiple configurations. Animations were exported as QuickTime movie files for use in presentations coupled with corresponding ultrasound videoclips. 3D models provide a link between ultrasonographic technique and image generation by depicting the interaction of the transducer, ultrasound beam, and structure of interest. The horse model was important to facilitate understanding of the location of pelvic structures relative to the skin surface. While CT acquisition time was brief, manipulation within the 3D software program was time intensive. Results were worthwhile from an instructional standpoint based on user feedback.