California Institute of Computer-Assisted Surgery
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3D Ultrasonic Image Guidance


The ultrasonic team at CICAS is investigating a navigational system that combines intraoperative ultrasonic imaging, real-time volume rendering, and robotic control. Using this system, the surgeon receives constant volumetric image updates from an ultrasonic (US) probe that scans the surgical site. The position of the US probe, along with the positions of other surgical tools (such as an endoscope or a surgical pointer) is tracked using computer vision–based tracking. The probe is attached to a robotic arm that follows a moving target within the patient and scans the operative site. In turn, these images are transferred to a computer, which reconstructs a three-dimensional (3D) model of the tissue in real time. A combination of filtering and opacity variations of the 3D ultrasound images will reveal the internal organs beyond the operative site. This innovative system is intended to advance biomedical imaging to achieve significantly higher sensitivity and specificity for cancer and other diseases for optimal surgical and therapeutic outcomes.

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