Concept Demonstrator for Combining Laparoscopic and Ultrasonic Imagery in a Correlated Display, 07-R9748

Printer Friendly Version

Principal Investigators
J. Brian Fisher
Warren C. Couvillion

Inclusive Dates:  09/10/07 – 01/10/08

Background - Minimally invasive surgical procedures involve the use of surgical instruments and a miniature video camera (laparoscope) inserted through small incisions in the abdomen. The laparoscope sends a magnified image from inside the body to a video monitor giving the surgeon a close-up view of organs and tissues. The surgeon uses this view to identify various anatomical structures that are manipulated using surgical instruments. While minimally invasive procedures are effective, the limited information provided by the laparoscope camera can make it difficult, in some cases, to differentiate key anatomical features, which may lead to unnecessary surgical complications.

Approach - The goal of this research was to demonstrate the feasibility of overlaying imagery from a laparoscopic ultrasound (LUS) onto laparoscopic imagery to create an augmented view in a test bed environment. Ultimately, this approach would be extended to enhance a surgeon's ability to identify key anatomical features during actual procedures. The approach taken involved the development of an accurate and usable method for tracking both the ultrasound and laparoscopic probes using off-the-shelf components, generating methods for correlating and overlaying imagery from the LUS and laparoscope in a single composited image updated in real time, and developing a prototype user interface allowing the user to view and interact with imagery from the laparoscope and LUS.

Accomplishments - We successfully developed a proof-of-concept system that demonstrated the basic approach. We worked with surgeons to collect data using the proof-of-concept system to support a study to determine if combining imagery in this fashion was more effective than depicting the images separately, as is currently done during laparoscopic surgery using ultrasound. Study results were generally positive and illustrated that the approach allowed subjects to answer orientation questions 33 to 50 percent faster than using the conventional approach. In addition, a post-study survey showed a favorable opinion of this image overlay technique.

2008 Program Home