3 D Needle Shape Visualization From 2 D Ultrasound Images Using RANSAC

This paper introduces an automatic method to visualize needle path curvature for reliable assessment of needle placement during needle insertion procedures. Based on partial observations of the needle within a small sample of 2D transverse ultrasound images, the 3D shape of the entire needle is reconstructed. An intensity thresholding technique is used to identify points representing possible needle locations within each 2D ultrasound image. Then, a Random Sample and Consensus (RANSAC) algorithm is used to filter out false positives and fit the remaining points to a polynomial model. To test this method, several transverse ultrasound images of a brachytherapy needle embedded within a transparent tissue phantom are obtained and used to reconstruct the needle shape. Results are validated using camera images which capture the true needle path. For this experimental data, obtaining at least three images from an insertion depth of 50 mm or greater allows the entire needle path to be calculated with an average error per unit depth of 0.5 mm with respect to the measured needle curve obtained from the camera image. Future work and application to robotics is also discussed.