Ultrasound imaging is the most pervasive, cost effective, portable, high-resolution, and non-ionizing modality of diagnostic imaging available. The use of ultrasounds, however, has been hampered by the noise properties and poor contrast inherent in such imagery. A novel processing system is currently being developed that overcomes some of these disadvantages by producing a high-quality rendering of the anatomical structure of interest. In particular, a normal anatomical atlas is used as the starting point; this atlas is produced from either CT or MR imagery. As the ultrasound probe is moved along the body, image registration techniques, as well as external instrumentation that monitors the position and attitude of the ultrasound probe, are used to provide a continuous mapping between the ultrasound observations and the atlas. As discrepancies between the atlas and the observed anatomy occur, the atlas is deformed to reflect actual observations. Operated in this mode, the system displays the deformed high-resolution atlas to the user, providing a high- contrast, low-noise rendering of the patient's anatomy. In scenarios such as battlefield critical care, where large, immobile C/T or MR scanners are not feasible, deformation of a high quality atlas to match real-time ultrasound imagery can provide for much improved assessment and treatment possibilities.