This article presents a method designed to automatically track cortical vessels in intra-operative microscope video sequences. The main application of this method is the estimation of cortical displacement that occurs during tumor resection procedures. The method works in three steps. First, models of vessels selected in the first frame of the sequence are built. These models are then used to track vessels across frames in the video sequence. Finally, displacements estimated using the vessels are extrapolated to the entire image. The method has been tested retrospectively on images simulating large displacement, tumor resection, and partial occlusion by surgical instruments and on 21 video sequences comprising several thousand frames acquired from three patients. Qualitative results show that the method is accurate, robust to the appearance and disappearance of surgical instruments, and capable of dealing with large differences in images caused by resection. Quantitative results show a mean vessel tracking error (VTE) of 2.4 pixels (0.3 or 0.6 mm, depending on the spatial resolution of the images) and an average target registration error (TRE) of 3.3 pixels (0.4 or 0.8 mm).
© 2011 IEEE