Fast 5DOF needle tracking in iOCT

  • Jakob Weiss
  • Nicola Rieke
  • Mohammad Ali Nasseri
  • Mathias Maier
  • Abouzar Eslami
  • Nassir Navab
Original Article



Intraoperative optical coherence tomography (iOCT) is an increasingly available imaging technique for ophthalmic microsurgery that provides high-resolution cross-sectional information of the surgical scene. We propose to build on its desirable qualities and present a method for tracking the orientation and location of a surgical needle. Thereby, we enable the direct analysis of instrument–tissue interaction directly in OCT space without complex multimodal calibration that would be required with traditional instrument tracking methods.


The intersection of the needle with the iOCT scan is detected by a peculiar multistep ellipse fitting that takes advantage of the directionality of the modality. The geometric modeling allows us to use the ellipse parameters and provide them into a latency-aware estimator to infer the 5DOF pose during needle movement.


Experiments on phantom data and ex vivo porcine eyes indicate that the algorithm retains angular precision especially during lateral needle movement and provides a more robust and consistent estimation than baseline methods.


Using solely cross-sectional iOCT information, we are able to successfully and robustly estimate a 5DOF pose of the instrument in less than 5.4 ms on a CPU.


Optical coherence tomography iOCT Instrument tracking Ophthalmic tool tracking Geometric modeling 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical statement

All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted. This article does not contain patient data.


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Copyright information

© CARS 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computer Aided Medical ProceduresTechnische Universität MünchenGarchingGermany
  2. 2.Augenklinik und PoliklinikKlinikum rechts der Isar der Technische Universit MünchenMunichGermany
  3. 3.Carl Zeiss Meditec AGMunichGermany
  4. 4.Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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