Preclinical evaluation of ultrasound-augmented needle navigation for laparoscopic liver ablation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery








Augmented reality; Laparoscopic surgery; Laparoscopic ultrasound; Radiofrequency ablation


© 2020, CARS. Purpose: For laparoscopic ablation to be successful, accurate placement of the needle to the tumor is essential. Laparoscopic ultrasound is an essential tool to guide needle placement, but the ultrasound image is generally presented separately from the laparoscopic image. We aim to evaluate an augmented reality (AR) system which combines laparoscopic ultrasound image, laparoscope video, and the needle trajectory in a unified view. Methods: We created a tissue phantom made of gelatin. Artificial tumors represented by plastic spheres were secured in the gelatin at various depths. The top point of the sphere surface was our target, and its 3D coordinates were known. The participants were invited to perform needle placement with and without AR guidance. Once the participant reported that the needle tip had reached the target, the needle tip location was recorded and compared to the ground truth location of the target, and the difference was the target localization error (TLE). The time of the needle placement was also recorded. We further tested the technical feasibility of the AR system in vivo on a 40-kg swine. Results: The AR guidance system was evaluated by two experienced surgeons and two surgical fellows. The users performed needle placement on a total of 26 targets, 13 with AR and 13 without (i.e., the conventional approach). The average TLE for the conventional and the AR approaches was 14.9 mm and 11.1 mm, respectively. The average needle placement time needed for the conventional and AR approaches was 59.4 s and 22.9 s, respectively. For the animal study, ultrasound image and needle trajectory were successfully fused with the laparoscopic video in real time and presented on a single screen for the surgeons. Conclusion: By providing projected needle trajectory, we believe our AR system can assist the surgeon with more efficient and precise needle placement.

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