"Real time" surgical treatment planning utilizing multimodality imaging (CT, MRI, DA) has been developed to provide the neurosurgeon with 2D multiplanar and 3D views of a patient's lesion for stereotactic planning. Both diagnostic and therapeutic stereotactic procedures have been implemented utilizing workstation (SUN 1/10) and specially developed software and hardware (developed in collaboration with TOMO Medical Imaging Technology, Southfield, MI). This provides complete 3D and 2D free-tilt views as part of the system instrumentation. The 2D Multiplanar includes reformatted sagittal, coronal, paraaxial and free tilt oblique vectors at any arbitrary plane of the patient's lesion. The 3D includes features for extracting a view of the target volume localized by a process including steps of automatic segmentation, thresholding, and/or boundary detection with 3D display of the volumes of interest. The system also includes the capability of interactive playback of reconstructed 3D movies, which can be viewed at any hospital network having compatible software on strategical locations or at remote sites through data transmission and record documentation by image printers. Both 2D and 3D menus include real time stereotactic coordinate measurements and trajectory definition capabilities as well as statistical functions for computing distances, angles, areas, and volumes. A combined interactive 3D-2D multiplanar menu allows simultaneous display of selected trajectory, final optimization, and multiformat 2D display of free-tilt reformatted images perpendicular to selected trajectory of the entire target volume.