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Development of a cost-effective system for digital off-line analysis of transrectal ultrasound

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Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) is the most sensitive and accurate technique for preoperative staging and follow-up of rectal cancer. One of the most relevant problems of this technique is that the assessment of TRUS is possible only during real-time examination. Furthermore, interpretation of the ultrasound findings is difficult and requires long experience. We show the development of a new, cost-effective software solution for off-line examination and documentation of transrectal ultrasound.


The ultrasound device is connected to a frame-grabber card in a standard PC. Video capturing is done using a freeware software solution and various video codecs. The whole examination course is recorded. The examiner only has to concentrate on producing an artifact-free realization of the examination.


The software solution offers a flexible review of each individual “frame” of the investigation on the personal computer, very similar to CT and MRI scans. Infiltration depth and lymph node status can be assessed at any time, independently of the investigation and the investigator. The picture quality is excellent even if a lossy codec is used. It is not necessary to do definitive assessment of the TRUS during the examination.


This new technique gives a cost-effective possibility for high-quality off-line staging, re-examination, re-evaluation, and documentation of rectal cancer. TRUS becomes an examiner-independent objective examination technique for staging and follow-up of rectal cancer.

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We thank Heidi Leicht for her assistance in manuscript preparation.

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Correspondence to R. Weidenhagen.

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Weidenhagen, R., Strauss, T., Gruetzner, K.U. et al. Development of a cost-effective system for digital off-line analysis of transrectal ultrasound. Surg Endosc 20, 487–494 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-005-0352-x

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  • Transrectal
  • Ultrasound
  • Digital
  • Documentation
  • Cost-effective