Deformation-Aware Robotic 3D Ultrasound

Zhongliang Jiang, Yue Zhou, Yuan Bi, Mingchuan Zhou, Thomas Wendler, Nassir Navab

Tissue deformation in ultrasound (US) imaging leads to geometrical errors when measuring tissues due to the pressure exerted by probes. Such deformation has an even larger effect on 3D US volumes as the correct compounding is limited by the inconsistent location and geometry. This work proposes a patient-specified stiffness-based method to correct the tissue deformations in robotic 3D US acquisitions. To obtain the patient-specified model, robotic palpation is performed at sampling positions on the tissue. The contact force, US images and the probe poses of the palpation procedure are recorded. The contact force and the probe poses are used to estimate the nonlinear tissue stiffness. The images are fed to an optical flow algorithm to compute the pixel displacement. Then the pixel-wise tissue deformation under different forces is characterized by a coupled quadratic regression. To correct the deformation at unseen positions on the trajectory for building 3D volumes, an interpolation is performed based on the stiffness values computed at the sampling positions. With the stiffness and recorded force, the tissue displacement could be corrected. The method was validated on two blood vessel phantoms with different stiffness. The results demonstrate that the method can effectively correct the force-induced deformation and finally generate 3D tissue geometries

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