Dual-robot ultrasound-guided needle placement: closing the planning-imaging-action loop

Risto Kojcev, Bernhard Fuerst, Oliver Zettinig, Javad Fotouhi, Sing Chun Lee, Benjamin Frisch, Russell Taylor, Edoardo Sinibaldi, Nassir Navab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Precise needle placement is an important task during several medical procedures. Ultrasound imaging is often used to guide the needle toward the target region in soft tissue. This task remains challenging due to the user’s dependence on image quality, limited field of view, moving target, and moving needle. In this paper, we present a novel dual-robot framework for robotic needle insertions under robotic ultrasound guidance. Method: We integrated force-controlled ultrasound image acquisition, registration of preoperative and intraoperative images, vision-based robot control, and target localization, in combination with a novel needle tracking algorithm. The framework allows robotic needle insertion to target a preoperatively defined region of interest while enabling real-time visualization and adaptive trajectory planning to provide safe and quick interactions. We assessed the framework by considering both static and moving targets embedded in water and tissue-mimicking gelatin. Results: The presented dual-robot tracking algorithms allow for accurate needle placement, namely to target the region of interest with an error around 1 mm. Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, we show the first use of two independent robots, one for imaging, the other for needle insertion, that are simultaneously controlled using image processing algorithms. Experimental results show the feasibility and demonstrate the accuracy and robustness of the process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1173-1181
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Instrument and patient localization and tracking
  • Robotic architecture and devices
  • Robotic system and software
  • Robotics
  • Software architecture
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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