With surgical interventions becoming more and more complex, there is an increasing need for image guidance solutions in the OR. While X-ray systems expose the surgical staff to significant ionizing radiation, and the usage of bulky MRI scanners is regularly not feasible, ultrasound (US) systems could offer a practical and economic solution. However, ultrasound imaging is less straight-forward in terms of manual handling of the transducer and the achievable image quality, and therefore highly depends on the experience and the dexterity of the operating physician. We believe that automatic robotic support for image-guided navigation can overcome these challenges in the operating theater.
In this project, we are investigating ways to perform automatic robotic US acquisitions, including automatic trajectory planning for optimal organ coverage, trajectory execution with force control for sufficient acoustic coupling, 3D compounding, automatic needle guidance and inseration, as well as visual servoing-inspired control laws to track both moving anatomy and moving tools and to update the trajectory in real-time.
Update: First results of an ongoing clinical study (see publication below) demonstrate that robotic ultrasound-assisted facet joint insertions lead to success rates comparable to current clinical practice while lowering the X-ray dose and offering additional anatomical context for needle trajectory planning.
Have a look at our publications:
Robotic ultrasound-guided facet joint insertion Journal Article
International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery, 13 (6), pp. 895–904, 2018.
International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery, 12 (6), pp. 1003–1011, 2017.
IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, 36 (2), pp. 538–548, 2017.
International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery, 12 (9), pp. 1607–1619, 2017.
International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery, 11 (6), pp. 1173–1181, 2016.
IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), pp. 508–513, 2016.
Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting, pp. SSM12-04, 2016.
IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pp. 945–950, IEEE 2016.