Augmented Reality-based Feedback for Technician-in-the-loop C-arm Repositioning

Interventional C-arm imaging is crucial to percutaneous orthopedic procedures as it enables the surgeon to monitor the progress of surgery on the anatomy level. Minimally invasive interventions require repeated acquisition of X-ray images from different anatomical views to verify tool placement. Achieving and reproducing these views often comes at the cost of increased surgical time and radiation dose to both patient and staff. This work proposes a marker-free "technician-in-the-loop" Augmented Reality (AR) solution for C-arm repositioning. The X-ray technician operating the C-arm interventionally is equipped with a head-mounted display capable of recording desired C-arm poses in 3D via an integrated infrared sensor. For C-arm repositioning to a particular target view, the recorded C-arm pose is restored as a virtual object and visualized in an AR environment, serving as a perceptual reference for the technician. We conduct experiments in a setting simulating orthopedic trauma surgery. Our proof-of-principle findings indicate that the proposed system can decrease the 2.76 X-ray images required per desired view down to zero, suggesting substantial reductions of radiation dose during C-arm repositioning. The proposed AR solution is a first step towards facilitating communication between the surgeon and the surgical staff, improving the quality of surgical image acquisition, and enabling context-aware guidance for surgery rooms of the future. The concept of technician-in-the-loop design will become relevant to various interventions considering the expected advancements of sensing and wearable computing in the near future.

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