MEDICAL DEVICE TRACKING AND NAVIGATION

Ultrasound is well suited for guiding many minimally invasive procedures, but its use is often precluded by the poor visibility of medical devices. When devices are not visible, they can damage critical structures, with life-threatening complications. At PURL, we are developing an ultrasound-based needle tracking technique that is based on ultrasonic communications between the external ultrasound probe and an ultrasound transmitter / receiver integrated within the needle.

IN-PLANE ULTRASONIC NEEDLE TRACKING USING A FIBER-OPTIC HYDROPHONE

We develop a method for directly visualising the needle tip using an integrated fiber-optic ultrasound receiver in conjunction with the imaging probe used to acquire B-mode ultrasound images.

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3D NEEDLE TRACKING WITH A LINEAR
ARRAY ULTRASOUND PROBE

We developed the first ultrasound probe that comprises both focused and unfocused transducer elements to provide both 2D B-mode ultrasound imaging and 3D ultrasonic needle tracking. A fibre-optic hydrophone was integrated into a needle to receive Golay-coded transmissions from the probe and these data were processed to obtain tracking images of the needle tip. The measured tracking accuracy in water was better than 0.4 mm in all dimensions. To demonstrate the clinical potential of this system, insertions were performed into the spine and the uterine cavity, in swine and pregnant ovine models in vivo. In both models, the SNR ranged from 13 to 38 at depths of 22 to 38 mm, at out-of-plane distances of 1 to 15 mm, and at insertion angles of 33 to 42 degrees relative to the probe surface normal. This novel ultrasound imaging/tracking probe has strong potential to improve procedural outcomes by providing 3D needle tip locations that are co-registered to ultrasound images, while maintaining compatibility with current clinical workflow.

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ULTRASONIC NEEDLE TRACKING WITH A FIBRE-OPTIC ULTRASOUND TRANSMITTER FOR GUIDANCE OF MINIMALLY INVASIVE FETAL SURGERY

We develop a tracking system to directly visualise the needle tip with an ultrasonic beacon. The waves transmitted by the beacon were received by an external ultrasound imaging probe. Pairs of co-registered images were acquired in rapid succession with this probe: a photoacoustic image obtained with the system in receive-only mode, and a conventional B-mode ultrasound image. The beacon comprised a custom elastomeric nanocomposite coating at the distal end of an optical fibre, which was positioned within the lumen of a commercial 22 gauge needle. Delivery of pulsed light to the coating resulted in the photoacoustic generation of ultrasonic waves. The measured tracking accuracies in water in the axial and lateral dimensions were 0.39±0.190.39±0.19 mm and 1.85±0.291.85±0.29 mm, respectively. To obtain a preliminary indication of the clinical potential of this ultrasonic needle tracking system, needle insertions were performed in an in vivo fetal sheep model. The results demonstrate that ultrasonic needle tracking with a fibre-optic transmitter is feasible in a clinically realistic fetal surgery environment, and that it could be useful to guide minimally invasive procedures by providing accurate visualisation of the medical device tip.

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