Accurate identification of the needle tip is a key challenge with ultrasound-guided percutaneous interventions in regional anaesthesia, foetal surgery and cardiovascular medicine. In this study, we developed an ultrasonic needle tracking system in which the measured needle tip location was used to set the electronic focus of the external ultrasound imaging probe. In this system, needle tip tracking was enabled with a fibre-optic ultrasound sensor that was integrated into a needle stylet, and the A-lines recorded by the sensor were processed to generate tracking images of the needle tip. The needle tip position was estimated from the tracking images. The dependency of the tracking image on the electronic focal depth of the external ultrasound imaging probe was studied in a water bath and with needle insertions into a clinical training phantom. The variability in the estimated tracked position of the needle tip, with the needle tip at fixed depths in the imaging plane across a depth range from 0.5 to 7.5 cm, was studied. When the electronic focus was fixed, the variability of tracked position was found to increase with distance from that focus. The variability with the fixed focus was found to depend on the the relative distance between the needle tip and focal depth. It was found that with dynamic focusing, the maximum variability of tracked position was below 0.31 mm, as compared with 3.97 mm for a fixed focus.
|Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology
|Early online date
|30 Dec 2021
|E-pub ahead of print - 30 Dec 2021