GPU Based Real-Time Instrument Tracking with Three Dimensional Ultrasound

Paul M. Novotny, Jeff A. Stoll, Nikolay V. Vasilyev, Pedro J. del Nido, Pierre E. Dupont, Todd E. Zickler and Robert D. Howe
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA
Medical Image Analysis, Volume 11, Issue 5, October 2007, Pages 458-464


   title={GPU based real-time instrument tracking with three-dimensional ultrasound},

   author={Novotny, P.M. and Stoll, J.A. and Vasilyev, N.V. and Del Nido, P.J. and Dupont, P.E. and Zickler, T.E. and Howe, R.D.},

   journal={Medical image analysis},








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Real-time three-dimensional ultrasound enables new intracardiac surgical procedures, but the distorted appearance of instruments in ultrasound poses a challenge to surgeons. This paper presents a detection technique that identifies the position of the instrument within the ultrasound volume. The algorithm uses a form of the generalized Radon transform to search for long straight objects in the ultrasound image, a feature characteristic of instruments and not found in cardiac tissue. When combined with passive markers placed on the instrument shaft, the full position and orientation of the instrument is found in 3D space. This detection technique is amenable to rapid execution on the current generation of personal computer graphics processor units (GPU). Our GPU implementation detected a surgical instrument in 31 ms, sufficient for real-time tracking at the 25 volumes per second rate of the ultrasound machine. A water tank experiment found instrument orientation errors of 1.1 degree and tip position errors of less than 1.8 mm. Finally, an in vivo study demonstrated successful instrument tracking inside a beating porcine heart.
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