Experimental evaluation of ultrasound-guided 3D needle steering in biological tissue

  • Momen Abayazid
  • Gustaaf J. Vrooijink
  • Sachin Patil
  • Ron Alterovitz
  • Sarthak Misra
Original Article



In this paper, we present a system capable of automatically steering bevel tip flexible needles under ultrasound guidance toward stationary and moving targets in gelatin phantoms and biological tissue while avoiding stationary and moving obstacles. We use three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound to track the needle tip during the procedure.


Our system uses a fast sampling-based path planner to compute and periodically update a feasible path to the target that avoids obstacles. We then use a novel control algorithm to steer the needle along the path in a manner that reduces the number of needle rotations, thus reducing tissue damage. We present experimental results for needle insertion procedures for both stationary and moving targets and obstacles for up to 90 mm of needle insertion.


We obtained a mean targeting error of \(0.32\pm 0.10\) and \(0.38\,\pm \,0.19\) mm in gelatin-based phantom and biological tissue, respectively.


The achieved submillimeter accuracy suggests that our approach is sufficient to target the smallest lesions (\(\phi \) 2 mm) that can be detected using state-of-the-art ultrasound imaging systems.


Computer-assisted surgery Medical robots and systems  Image-guided control Minimally invasive surgery Needle–tissue interactions Ultrasound 

Supplementary material

The submitted video illustrates the experimental setup and results presented in the paper. Real-time needle path planning and steering experiments are performed using ultrasound image-guidance. The video shows the results of the six experimental cases described in the paper. In addition, the targeting errors are displayed in the video (mp4 19223 KB) .


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Copyright information

© CARS 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Momen Abayazid
    • 1
  • Gustaaf J. Vrooijink
    • 1
  • Sachin Patil
    • 2
  • Ron Alterovitz
    • 3
  • Sarthak Misra
    • 1
  1. 1.MIRA-Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine (Robotics and Mechatronics)University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer SciencesUniversity of California at BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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