Volume CT with a flat-panel detector on a mobile, isocentric C-arm: Pre-clinical investigation in guidance of minimally invasive surgery

J. H. Siewerdsen, D. J. Moseley, S. Burch, S. K. Bisland, A. Bogaards, B. C. Wilson, D. A. Jaffray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A mobile isocentric C-arm (Siemens PowerMobil) has been modified in our laboratory to include a large area flat-panel detector (in place of the x-ray image intensifier), providing multi-mode fluoroscopy and cone-beam computed tomography (CT) imaging capability. This platform represents a promising technology for minimally invasive, image-guided surgical procedures where precision in the placement of interventional tools with respect to bony and soft-tissue structures is critical. The image quality and performance in surgical guidance was investigated in pre-clinical evaluation in image-guided spinal surgery. The control, acquisition, and reconstruction system are described. The reproducibility of geometric calibration, essential to achieving high three-dimensional (3D) image quality, is tested over extended time scales (7 months) and across a broad range in C-arm angulation (up to 45°), quantifying the effect of improper calibration on spatial resolution, soft-tissue visibility, and image artifacts. Phantom studies were performed to investigate the precision of 3D localization (viz., fiber optic probes within a vertebral body) and effect of lateral projection truncation (limited field of view) on soft-tissue detectability in image reconstructions. Pre-clinical investigation was undertaken in a specific spinal procedure (photodynamic therapy of spinal metastases) in five animal subjects (pigs). In each procedure, placement of fiber optic catheters in two vertebrae (L1 and L2) was guided by fluoroscopy and cone-beam CT. Experience across five procedures is reported, focusing on 3D image quality, the effects of respiratory motion, limited field of view, reconstruction filter, and imaging dose. Overall, the intraoperative cone-beam CT images were sufficient for guidance of needles and catheters with respect to bony anatomy and improved surgical performance and confidence through 3D visualization and verification of transpedicular trajectories and tool placement. Future investigation includes improvement in image quality, particularly regarding x-ray scatter, motion artifacts and field of view, and integration with optical tracking and navigation systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-254
Number of pages14
JournalMedical physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • C-arm
  • Cone-beam CT
  • Flat-panel detector
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Image quality
  • Image-guided surgery
  • Minimally invasive
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Spinal metastases
  • Spine surgery
  • Volume CT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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