Volumetric depth peeling (VDP) is an extension to volume rendering that enables display of otherwise occluded features in volume data sets. VDP decouples occlusion calculation from the volume rendering transfer function, enabling independent optimization of settings for rendering and occlusion. The algorithm is flexible enough to handle multiple regions occluding the object of interest, as well as object self-occlusion, and requires no pre-segmentation of the data set. VDP was developed as an improvement for virtual arthroscopy for the diagnosis of shoulder-joint trauma, and has been generalized for use in other simple and complex joints, and to enable non-invasive urology studies. In virtual arthroscopy, the surfaces in the joints often occlude each other, allowing limited viewpoints from which to evaluate these surfaces. In urology studies, the physician would like to position the virtual camera outside the kidney collecting system and see inside it. By rendering invisible all voxels between the observer's point of view and objects of interest, VDP enables viewing from unconstrained positions. In essence, VDP can be viewed as a technique for automatically defining an optimal data- and task-dependent clipping surface. Radiologists using VDP display have been able to perform evaluations of pathologies more easily and more rapidly than with clinical arthroscopy, standard volume rendering, or standard MRI/CT slice viewing.