Measurements of organ volume by ultrasonography

Proc Inst Mech Eng H. 1999;213(3):247-59. doi: 10.1243/0954411991534951.


In a clinical context, measurements of organ volume are often performed in the diagnosis and follow-up of patients with a variety of diseases. Ultrasonography is a cheap, widely available and non-hazardous imaging modality to use for estimation of volumes, and a range of two- and three-dimensional methods have emerged to accomplish this task. This paper reviews some of the ultrasound methods available in cardiology, gastroenterology, nephrology/urology and gynaecology/obstetrics. Using two-dimensional (2D) ultrasound, the simplest method of calculating the volume of an organ is based on the multiplication of three diameters perpendicular to each other. These 2D methods are often based on geometrical assumptions which may introduce significant errors in volume estimation. Therefore, volume estimation based on three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound has been developed to increase accuracy and precision. At present, the process of making 3D images based on ultrasonography is divided into five steps: data acquisition, data digitization, data storage, data processing and data display. In conclusion, ultrasonography is a useful and reliable tool to calculate volumes of organs. In particular, 3D ultrasonography seems promising in this respect and appears to be superior to 2D ultrasonography in accuracy and precision in volume measurements.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Volume
  • Data Display
  • Echocardiography
  • Electromagnetic Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Ovary / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostate / diagnostic imaging
  • Reference Values
  • Stomach / diagnostic imaging
  • Ultrasonography / methods*
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods