Colonoscope tracking method based on shape estimation network

This paper presents a colonoscope tracking method utilizing a colon shape estimation method. CT colonography is used as a less-invasive colon diagnosis method. If colonic polyps or early-stage cancers are found, they are removed in a colonoscopic examination. In the colonoscopic examination, understanding where the colonoscope running in the colon is difficult. A colonoscope navigation system is necessary to reduce overlooking of polyps. We propose a colonoscope tracking method for navigation systems. Previous colonoscope tracking methods caused large tracking errors because they do not consider deformations of the colon during colonoscope insertions. We utilize the shape estimation network (SEN), which estimates deformed colon shape during colonoscope insertions. The SEN is a neural network containing long short-term memory (LSTM) layer. To perform colon shape estimation suitable to the real clinical situation, we trained the SEN using data obtained during colonoscope operations of physicians. The proposed tracking method performs mapping of the colonoscope tip position to a position in the colon using estimation results of the SEN. We evaluated the proposed method in a phantom study. We confirmed that tracking errors of the proposed method was enough small to perform navigation in the ascending, transverse, and descending colons.

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