Thousands of operations are annually guided with computer assisted surgery (CAS) technologies. As the use of these devices is rapidly increasing, the reliability of the devices becomes ever more critical. The problem of accuracy assessment of the devices has thus become relevant. During the past five years, over 200 hazardous situations have been documented in the MAUDE database during operations using these devices in the field of neurosurgery alone. Had the accuracy of these devices been periodically assessed pre-operatively, many of them might have been prevented. The technical accuracy of a commercial navigator enabling the use of both optical (OTS) and electromagnetic (EMTS) tracking systems was assessed in the hospital setting using accuracy assessment tools and methods developed by the authors of this paper. The technical accuracy was obtained by comparing the positions of the navigated tool tip with the phantom accuracy assessment points. Each assessment contained a total of 51 points and a region of surgical interest (ROSI) volume of 120x120x100 mm roughly mimicking the size of the human head. The error analysis provided a comprehensive understanding of the trend of accuracy of the surgical navigator modalities. This study showed that the technical accuracies of OTS and EMTS over the pre-determined ROSI were nearly equal. However, the placement of the particular modality hardware needs to be optimized for the surgical procedure. New applications of EMTS, which does not require rigid immobilization of the surgical area, are suggested.
Keywords: Computer assisted surgery; Electromagnetic tracking system; Optical tracking system; Region of surgical interest; Technical accuracy.