New PhD on A semi-autonomous robotic system for needle tracking and visual servoing using 2D medical ultrasound

RobitThis PhD thesis defended by Kim Mathiassen on October 11 2017. Adjudication committee: Professor Joris De Schutter, KU Leuven, Production Engineering, Machine Design and Automation (PMA), Professor Bjørn AJ Angelsen, Department of circulation and medical imaging, NTNU, Norway, Professor Anne Solberg, Department of Informatics, University of Oslo. Supervisors: Associate Professor Ole Jakob Elle, Department of Informatics, University of Oslo. Associate Professor Kyrre Glette, Department of Informatics, University of Oslo, Associate Professor Mats Høvin, Department of Informatics, University of Oslo, Professor II Per Kristian Hol, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo.
The thesis has two main results; the development of a robotic medical ultrasound system and methods for tracking a needle using medical ultrasound. One future use of the results may be in autonomous robotic cancer diagnostics and treatment.

Medical ultrasound is an important tool in modern medicine and is widely used in both diagnostics and treatment. Inserting a needle through the skin (percutaneous needle insertion) is a common procedure monitored using medical ultrasound. This includes insertion of biopsy needles and ablation probes. Using a biopsy needle the physician takes a tissue sample of a suspected malignant lesion (i.e. cancer diagnostics). An ablation probe is inserted into a cancer tumor to destroy the pathological area by the application of energy (i.e. cancer treatment).

In this thesis a robotic system is developed using commercially available components. The robot holds an ultrasound probe. The system may be used to monitor the insertion of a needle into the patient’s body. Novel methods have been develop to track the needle in realtime as either a human or a robot inserts the needle. Experiments with both human and robotic insertion of a needle into an ex vivo tissue has been conducted, and the results show that the needle is accurately tracked. In the future the estimated needle position and orientation may be given to a robot that inserts the needle, to ensure that the needle hits the correct target. This opens up the possibility for automating needle insertion task in health care, although many challenges still remain.

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Author: Erik Fosse
Publisher: Det Medisinske Selskap 2007
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