Growing-cube isosurface extraction algorithm for medical volume data

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15 Citations (Scopus)


In medical applications, three-dimensional volume data such as CT and MRI are gathered from medical-imaging devices. Marching cube (MC) algorithm is a common routine to extract isosurfaces from volume data. The MC algorithm generates the massive number of triangles to represent an isosurface. It is difficult to render this amount of triangles in real-time on general workstations. In this paper, we present a growing-cube algorithm to reduce the number of triangles generated by the MC algorithm. Growing-cube algorithm uses a surface tracker to avoid exhaustive searching isosurfaces cell-by-cell and, therefore, it saves computation time. During surface tracking, the growing-cube algorithm adaptively merges surfaces contained in the tracked cells to reduce the number of triangles. Surfaces are merged as long as the error is within user-specified error thresholds. Therefore, the proposed algorithm can generate a variable resolution of isosurfaces according to these error parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-415
Number of pages11
JournalComputerized Medical Imaging and Graphics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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