Volume rendering versus maximum intensity projection in CT angiography: what works best, when, and why

Radiographics. 2006 May-Jun;26(3):905-22. doi: 10.1148/rg.263055186.


The introduction and widespread availability of 16-section multi-detector row computed tomographic (CT) technology and, more recently, 64-section scanners, has greatly advanced the role of CT angiography in clinical practice. CT angiography has become a key component of state-of-the-art imaging, with applications ranging from oncology (eg, staging of pancreatic or renal cancer) to classic vascular imaging (eg, evaluation of aortic aneurysms and renal artery stenoses) as well as newer techniques such as coronary artery imaging and peripheral runoff studies. With an average of 400-1000 images in each volume data set, three-dimensional postprocessing is crucial to volume visualization. Radiologists now have workstations that provide capabilities for evaluation of these data sets by using a range of software programs and processing tools. Although different systems have unique capabilities and functionality, all provide the options of volume rendering and maximum intensity projection for image display and analysis. These two postprocessing techniques have different advantages and disadvantages when used in clinical practice, and it is important that radiologists understand when and how each technique should be used.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Artifacts
  • Coronary Angiography / instrumentation
  • Coronary Angiography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / instrumentation
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity