Towards an advanced virtual ultrasound-guided renal biopsy trainer

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE






Kidney biopsy; Needle to tissue interaction; Ultrasound; Virtual training


© 2019 SPIE. Ultrasound (US)-guided renal biopsy is a critically important tool in the evaluation and management of non-malignant renal pathologies with diagnostic and prognostic significance. It requires a good biopsy technique and skill to safely and consistently obtain high yield biopsy samples for tissue analysis. This project aims to develop a virtual trainer to help clinicians to improve procedural skill competence in real-time ultrasound-guided renal biopsy. This paper presents a cost-effective, high-fidelity trainer built using low-cost hardware components and open source visualization and interactive simulation libraries: interactive medical simulation toolkit (iMSTK) and 3D Slicer. We used a physical mannequin to simulate the tactile feedback that trainees experience while scanning a real patient and to provide trainees with spatial awareness of the US scanning plane with respect to the patient's anatomy. The ultrasound probe and biopsy needle were modeled using commonly used clinical tools and were instrumented to communicate with the simulator. 3D Slicer was used to visualize an image sliced from a pre-acquired 3-D ultrasound volume based on the location of the probe, with a realistic needle rendering. The simulation engine in iMSTK modeled the interaction between the needle and the virtual tissue to generate visual deformations on the tissue and tactile forces on the needle which are transmitted to the needle that the user holds. Initial testing has shown promising results with respect to quality of simulated images and system responsiveness. Further evaluation by clinicians is planned for the next stage.

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