A DICOM Viewer Plugin to Aid Diagnosis of Ligamentous Injuries of the Occipital Cervical Complex
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Large magnitude deceleration of the human body, such as that experienced in an automobile accident, has the potential to cause whiplash in the neck. The ligaments in the occipital-cervical complex, or OCC, of the neck may be damaged to the extent that a sudden disturbance of the head may cause paralysis or death. The injury often presents itself as bone pulled out by ligaments, and is thus visible in x-rays and CT scans. However, in the case that a ligament is damaged, the only indication of injury in a CT scan is an enlargement of the interval between the base of the skull and the second cervical vertebra, otherwise known as the BDI. The present study investigated the viability of a medical image viewer plugin to aid in the diagnosis of injuries to the Occipital Cervical Complex, or OCC. Comparing the output of the plugin to measurements of the BDI made by a doctor reveals that the plugin can reliably produce a measurement when told the location of the bones involved, though its measurements are on average over a millimeter different than those of the doctor. However, this study reveals that there is a future in applying computer vision to injury detection in CT scans.