Motivation: Image-guided percutaneous (through the skin) needle-based surgery has become part of routine clinical practice in performing procedures such as biopsies, injections and therapeutic implants. A novice physician typically performs needle interventions under the supervision of a senior physician; a slow and inherently subjective training process that lacks objective, quantitative assessment of the surgical skill and performance. Shortening the learning curve and increasing procedural consistency are important factors in assuring high-quality medical care.
Methods: This paper describes a laboratory validation system, called Perk Station, for standardized training and performance measurement under different assistance techniques for needle-based surgical guidance systems. The initial goal of the Perk Station is to assess and compare different techniques: 2D image overlay, biplane laser guide, laser protractor and conventional freehand. The main focus of this manuscript is the planning and guidance software system developed on the 3D Slicer platform, a free, open source software package designed for visualization and analysis of medical image data.
Results: The prototype Perk Station has been successfully developed, the associated needle insertion phantoms were built, and the graphical user interface was fully implemented. The system was inaugurated in undergraduate teaching and a wide array of outreach activities. Initial results, experiences, ongoing activities and future plans are reported.
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