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Fantastic Voyage

Medicine: Dispatches From the Front Lines

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The images look like reptilian creatures out of a low-budget science-fiction film, but they are in fact the blood vessels that run through our bodies, amplified courtesy of the new 3D Virtuoso imaging system now in use at Beth Israel Medical Center. These vascular depictions allow physicians to accurately visualize even the smallest venous abnormality and better treat such disorders as aneurysms and strokes. "We can actually see inside the blood vessels," says Alejandro Berenstein, director of the Center for Endovascular Surgery at Beth Israel Medical Center and a scientific adviser on 3D Virtuoso. Developed by Siemens Medical Systems, the computer program weds separate X-rays to produce a three-dimensional image when viewed through special glasses. The software can also simulate endoscopy with one-millimeter accuracy, allowing doctors to virtually travel through the blood vessels Fantastic Voyage-style. Beth Israel is one of two sites in the United States using the system.


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