Enhanced visualization for improved lesion diagnosis in virtual colonoscopy

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The risk of developing colon cancer is strongly correlated with the appearance of polypoid lesions (also called polyps) in the large intestine [Santoro et al. 2008]. Not all polyps are dangerous; in fact only one percent of polyps smaller than one centimeter is dangerous. However, when polyps grow bigger the risk quickly increases to over fifty percent. Recently another kind of lesion was discovered that has higher risk of developing towards cancer [Soetniko et al. 2008]. This so-called flat lesion is extremely hard to spot. Research in the past two years has made some effort to detect flat lesions automatically from CT scans but has yet been unsuccessful. This thesis tries to describe techniques that help radiologists spot polypoid and flat lesions in a CT Colonography by enhancing the rendered images of the colon interior surface wall.