Needle insertion is commonly performed in minimally invasive medical procedures such as biopsy and radiation cancer treatment. During such procedures, accurate needle tip placement is critical for correct diagnosis or successful treatment. Accurate placement of the needle tip inside tissue is challenging, especially when the target moves and anatomical obstacles must be avoided. We develop a needle steering system capable of autonomously and accurately guiding a steerable needle using two-dimensional (2D) ultrasound images. The needle is steered to a moving target while avoiding moving obstacles in a three-dimensional (3D) non-static environment. Using a 2D ultrasound imaging device, our system accurately tracks the needle tip motion in 3D space in order to estimate the tip pose. The needle tip pose is used by a rapidly exploring random tree-based motion planner to compute a feasible needle path to the target. The motion planner is sufficiently fast such that replanning can be performed repeatedly in a closed-loop manner. This enables the system to correct for perturbations in needle motion, and movement in obstacle and target locations. Our needle steering experiments in a soft-tissue phantom achieves maximum targeting errors of 0.86 ± 0.35 mm (without obstacles) and 2.16 ± 0.88 mm (with a moving obstacle).
Vrooijink, G. J., Abayazid, M., Patil, S., Alterovitz, R., & Misra, S. (2014). Needle path planning and steering in a three-dimensional non-static environment using two-dimensional ultrasound images. International journal of robotics research, 1361-1374. https://doi.org/10.1177/0278364914526627