Medical imaging is quickly evolving towards 3D image modalities such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT). These 3D image modalities add volumetric information but further increase the need for radiologists to search through the image data set. Although much is known about search strategies in 2D images less is known about the functional consequences of different 3D search strategies. We instructed readers to use two different search strategies: drillers had their eye movements restricted to a few regions while they quickly scrolled through the image stack, scanners explored through eye movements the 2D slices. We used real-time eye position monitoring to ensure observers followed the drilling or the scanning strategy while approximately preserving the percentage of the volumetric data covered by the useful field of view. We investigated search for two signals: a simulated microcalcification and a larger simulated mass. Results show an interaction between the search strategy and lesion type. In particular, scanning provided significantly better detectability for microcalcifications at the cost of 5 times more time to search while there was little change in the detectability for the larger simulated masses. Analyses of eye movements support the hypothesis that the effectiveness of a search strategy in 3D imaging arises from the interaction of the fixational sampling of visual information and the signals’ visibility in the visual periphery.
Miguel P. Eckstein, Miguel A. Lago, and Craig K. Abbey, "Evaluation of search strategies for microcalcifications and masses in 3D images," Proc. SPIE 10577, Medical Imaging 2018: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment, 105770C (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 11, 2018; Published: 7 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2293871.
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