From medical image computing to computer-aided intervention: development of a research interface for image-guided navigation

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Abstract

Background

This paper describes the development and application of a research interface to integrate research image analysis software with a commercial image-guided surgery navigation system. This interface enables bi-directional transfer of data such as images, visualizations and tool positions in real time.

Methods

We describe both the design and the application programming interface of the research interface, as well as showing the function of an example client program. The resulting interface provides a practical and versatile link for bringing image analysis research techniques into the operating room (OR).

Results

We present examples from the successful use of this research interface in both phantom experiments and real neurosurgeries. In particular, we demonstrate that the integrated dual-computer system achieves tool-tracking performance that is comparable to the more typical single-computer scenario.

Conclusions

Network interfaces for this type are viable solutions for the integration of commercial image-guided navigation systems and research software.

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