INTRODUCTION - Central to any image-guided surgical procedure is the alignment of image and physical coordinate spaces, or registration. We explored the task of registration in the kidney through in vivo and ex vivo porcine animal models and a human study of minimally invasive kidney surgery.
METHODS - A set of (n = 6) ex vivo porcine kidney models was utilized to study the effect of perfusion and loss of turgor caused by incision. Computed tomography (CT) and laser range scanner localizations of the porcine kidneys were performed before and after renal vessel clamping and after capsular incision. The da Vinci robotic surgery system was used for kidney surface acquisition and registration during robot-assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy. The surgeon acquired the physical surface data points with a tracked robotic instrument. These data points were aligned to preoperative CT for surface-based registrations. In addition, two biomechanical elastic computer models (isotropic and anisotropic) were constructed to simulate deformations in one of the kidneys to assess predictive capabilities.
RESULTS - The mean displacement at the surface fiducials (glass beads) in six porcine kidneys was 4.4 ± 2.1 mm (range 3.4-6.7 mm), with a maximum displacement range of 6.1 to 11.2 mm. Surface-based registrations using the da Vinci robotic instrument in robot-assisted laparoscopic partial nephrectomy yielded mean and standard deviation closest point distances of 1.4 and 1.1 mm. With respect to computer model predictive capability, the target registration error was on average 6.7 mm without using the model and 3.2 mm with using the model. The maximum target error reduced from 11.4 to 6.2 mm. The anisotropic biomechanical model yielded better performance but was not statistically better.
CONCLUSIONS - An initial point-based alignment followed by an iterative closest point registration is a feasible method of registering preoperative image (CT) space to intraoperative physical (robot) space. Although rigid registration provides utility for image-guidance, local deformations in regions of resection may be more significant. Computer models may be useful for prediction of such deformations, but more investigation is needed to establish the necessity of such compensation.