Simplified stereo-optical ultrasound plane calibration
Image guided therapy is a natural concept and commonly used in medicine. In anesthesia, a common task is the injection of an anesthetic close to a nerve under freehand ultrasound guidance. Several guidance systems exist using electromagnetic tracking of the ultrasound probe as well as the needle, providing the physician with a precise projection of the needle into the ultrasound image. This, however, requires additional expensive devices. We suggest using optical tracking with miniature cameras attached to a 2D ultrasound probe to achieve a higher acceptance among physicians. The purpose of this paper is to present an intuitive method to calibrate freehand ultrasound needle guidance systems employing a rigid stereo camera system. State of the art methods are based on a complex series of error prone coordinate system transformations which makes them susceptible to error accumulation. By reducing the amount of calibration steps to a single calibration procedure we provide a calibration method that is equivalent, yet not prone to error accumulation. It requires a linear calibration object and is validated on three datasets utilizing different calibration objects: a 6mm metal bar and a 1:25mm biopsy needle were used for experiments. Compared to existing calibration methods for freehand ultrasound needle guidance systems, we are able to achieve higher accuracy results while additionally reducing the overall calibration complexity.