Line fiducial material and thickness considerations for ultrasound calibration
Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
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© 2015 SPIE. Ultrasound calibration is a necessary procedure in many image-guided interventions, relating the position of tools and anatomical structures in the ultrasound image to a common coordinate system. This is a necessary component of augmented reality environments in image-guided interventions as it allows for a 3D visualization where other surgical tools outside the imaging plane can be found. Accuracy of ultrasound calibration fundamentally affects the total accuracy of this interventional guidance system. Many ultrasound calibration procedures have been proposed based on a variety of phantom materials and geometries. These differences lead to differences in representation of the phantom on the ultrasound image which subsequently affect the ability to accurately and automatically segment the phantom. For example, taut wires are commonly used as line fiducials in ultrasound calibration. However, at large depths or oblique angles, the fiducials appear blurred and smeared in ultrasound images making it hard to localize their cross-section with the ultrasound image plane. Intuitively, larger diameter phantoms with lower echogenicity are more accurately segmented in ultrasound images in comparison to highly reflective thin phantoms. In this work, an evaluation of a variety of calibration phantoms with different geometrical and material properties for the phantomless calibration procedure was performed. The phantoms used in this study include braided wire, plastic straws, and polyvinyl alcohol cryogel tubes with different diameters. Conventional B-mode and synthetic aperture images of the phantoms at different positions were obtained. The phantoms were automatically segmented from the ultrasound images using an ellipse fitting algorithm, the centroid of which is subsequently used as a fiducial for calibration. Calibration accuracy was evaluated for these procedures based on the leave-one-out target registration error. It was shown that larger diameter phantoms with lower echogenicity are more accurately segmented in comparison to highly reflective thin phantoms. This improvement in segmentation accuracy leads to a lower fiducial localization error, which ultimately results in low target registration error. This would have a profound effect on calibration procedures and the feasibility of different calibration procedures in the context of image-guided procedures.