Uncertainty-Encoded Augmented Reality for Robot-Assisted Partial Nephrectomy: A Phantom Study
In most robot-assisted surgical interventions, multimodal fusion of pre- and intra-operative data is highly valuable, affording the surgeon a more comprehensive understanding of the surgical scene observed through the stereo endoscopic camera. More specifically, in the case of partial nephrectomy, fusing pre-operative segmentations of kidney and tumor with the stereo endoscopic view can guide tumor localization and the identification of resection margins. However, the surgeons are often unable to reliably assess the levels of trust they can bestow on what is overlaid on the screen. In this paper, we present the proof-of-concept of an uncertainty-encoded augmented reality framework and novel visualizations of the uncertainties derived from the pre-operative CT segmentation onto the surgeon’s stereo endoscopic view. To verify its clinical potential, the proposed method is applied to an ex vivo lamb kidney. The results are contrasted to different visualization solutions based on crisp segmentation demonstrating that our method provides valuable additional information that can help the surgeon during the resection planning.
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