A New Sensor Technology for 2D Ultrasound-Guided Needle Tracking
2D Ultrasound (US) is becoming the preferred modality for image-guided interventions due to its low cost and portability. However, the main limitation is the limited visibility of surgical tools. We present a new sensor technology that can easily be embedded on needles that are used for US-guided interventions. Two different types of materials are proposed to be used as sensor - co-polymer and PZT. The co-polymer technology is particularly attractive due to its plasticity, allowing very thin depositions (10-20 μm) on a variety of needle shapes. Both sensors receive acoustic energy and convert it to an electrical signal. The precise location of the needle can then be estimated from this signal, to provide real-time feedback to the clinician. We evaluated the feasibility of this new technology using (i) a 4DOF robot in a water tank; (ii) extensive ex vivo experiments; and (iii) in vivo studies. Quantitative robotic studies indicated that the co-polymer is more robust and stable when compared to PZT. In quantitative experiments, the technology achieved a tracking accuracy of 0.14 ± 0.03mm, significantly superior to competing technologies. The technology also proved success in near-real clinical studies on tissue data. This sensor technology is non-disruptive of existing clinical workflows, highly accurate, and is cost-effective. Initial clinician feedback shows great potential for large scale clinical impact.
KeywordsSensor Technology Target Registration Error Needle Tracking Needle Shape 4DOF Robot
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