Software fuses images for surgeons

Researchers at InnerOptic Technology (Hillsborough, NC, USA) have developed software that fuses pre-operative CT scans with live ultrasound imagery in real time onto a 3-D monitor.

Software fuses images for surgeons
Software fuses images for surgeons

During minimally-invasive surgical procedures, physicians must alternate between viewing annotated pre-operative computed tomography (CT) images and live ultrasound images on separate monitors, with no interaction between them.

But that could soon become a thing of the past, thanks to researchers at InnerOptic Technology (Hillsborough, NC, USA) who have developed software that fuses pre-operative CT scans with live ultrasound imagery in real time onto a 3-D monitor.

The so-called Spotlight software, developed during Phase I of an SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), renders opaquely and in sharp detail only the portions of the CT data that are in the vicinity of the ultrasound probe.

To enhance the performance of the biomedical imaging software further, the InnerOptic researchers have now been awarded a Phase II grant which will see them work in cahoots with software developers at Kitware (Clifton Park, NY, USA) to extend the Spotlight system with vessel registration algorithms that will keep the CT and ultrasound images continuously aligned during the surgical procedure.

“Through this work, we aim to reduce surgery time and patient recovery time, while increasing the effectiveness of needle ablation, localized drug delivery, and needle biopsy,” says Dr. Stephen Aylward, the Director of Medical Imaging at Kitware.

-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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