PacificVis 2017 - Honorable Mention Award

Published by Max Höfferer
Date: 2017-05-02

Placenta Maps: In Utero Placental Health Assessment of the Human Fetus

  • Haichao Miao miao (at), TU Wien, Austria
  • Gabriel Mistelbauer, gmistelbauer (at)
    Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg Germany
  • Alexey Karimov alexey.karimov (at)
    TU Wien, Austria
  • Amir Alansary, a.alansary14 (at)
    Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  • Mellisa Damodaram, mellisa.damodaram (at)
    Kings College London, United Kingdom
  • Joseph V. Hajnal, jo.hajnal (at)
    Kings College London, United Kingdom
  • Mary Rutherford, mary.rutherford (at)
    Kings College London, United Kingdom
  • Bernhard Preim, bernhard (at)
    Otto-von-Guericke University,Magdeburg Germany
  • Bernhard Kainz, b.kainz (at)
    Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  • M. Eduard Groeller,  groeller (at)
    TU Wien, Austria


The human placenta is essential for the supply of the fetus. To monitor the fetal development, imaging data is acquired using ultrasound (US). Although it is currently the gold-standard in fetal imaging, it might not capture certain abnormalities of the placenta. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe alternative for the in utero examination while acquiring the fetus data in higher detail. Nevertheless, there is currently no established procedure for assessing the condition of the placenta and consequently the fetal health. Due to maternal respiration and inherent movements of the fetus during examination, a quantitative assessment of the placenta requires fetal motion compensation, precise placenta segmentation and a standardized visualization, which are challenging tasks. Utilizing advanced motion compensation and automatic segmentation methods to extract the highly versatile shape of the placenta, we introduce a novel visualization technique that presents the fetal and maternal side of the placenta in a standardized way. Our approach enables physicians to explore the placenta even in utero. This establishes the basis for a comparative assessment of multiple placentas to analyze possible pathologic arrangements and to support the research and understanding of this vital organ. Additionally, we propose a three-dimensional structure-aware surface slicing technique in order to explore relevant regions inside the placenta. Finally, to survey the applicability of our approach, we consulted clinical experts in prenatal diagnostics and imaging. We received mainly positive feedback, especially the applicability of our technique for research purposes was appreciated.