Image Guided Robots for Urology
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This dissertation addresses the development of medical image-guided robots and their applications in urology. Image-guided robots integrate medical image information with robotic precision to assist the planning and execution of the image-guided interventions. Robots guided by two different image modalities, ultrasound and MR image, were developed. Ultrasound image-guided robots manipulate an ultrasound probe and a needle-guide that are calibrated with respect to the robot for image-guided targeting. A method for calibration was developed and verified through the image-guided targeting experiments. Robotic manipulation of the calibrated probe allows acquisition of image slices at precise location, which can be combined to generate a 3D ultrasound image. Software for 3D ultrasound image acquisition, processing, and segmentation was developed as a part of the image-guided robot system. The feasibility of several image-guided intervention procedures using the ultrasound image-guided robot system was tested. The robot was used in a clinical trial of intraoperative transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) guided prostatectomy. The accuracy of TRUS-guided prostate biopsy using the robot was evaluated in a comparative study versus the classic human operation of the probe. Robot controlled palpation and image processing methods were developed for ultrasound elastography imaging of the prostate. An ultrasound to CT image-fusion method using the robot as a common reference was developed for percutaneous access of the kidney. MRI-guided robots were developed for transrectal and transperineal prostate biopsy. Extensive in-vitro tests were performed to ensure MRI compatibility and image-guided accuracy of the robots. The transrectal robot was evaluated in an animal study and the transperineal robot is undergoing a clinical trial. The collection of methods and algorithms presented in this dissertation can contribute to the development of image-guided robots that may provide less invasive and more precise interventions in urology, interventional radiology, and other fields.