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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 6027029, 20 pages
Review Article

A Review on Real-Time 3D Ultrasound Imaging Technology

1School of Electronic and Information Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China
2College of Information Engineering, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Qinghua Huang

Received 9 September 2016; Accepted 7 March 2017; Published 26 March 2017

Academic Editor: Kevin M. Coombs

Copyright © 2017 Qinghua Huang and Zhaozheng Zeng. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Real-time three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound (US) has attracted much more attention in medical researches because it provides interactive feedback to help clinicians acquire high-quality images as well as timely spatial information of the scanned area and hence is necessary in intraoperative ultrasound examinations. Plenty of publications have been declared to complete the real-time or near real-time visualization of 3D ultrasound using volumetric probes or the routinely used two-dimensional (2D) probes. So far, a review on how to design an interactive system with appropriate processing algorithms remains missing, resulting in the lack of systematic understanding of the relevant technology. In this article, previous and the latest work on designing a real-time or near real-time 3D ultrasound imaging system are reviewed. Specifically, the data acquisition techniques, reconstruction algorithms, volume rendering methods, and clinical applications are presented. Moreover, the advantages and disadvantages of state-of-the-art approaches are discussed in detail.