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Mobile C-arm is an essential tool in everyday trauma and orthopedics surgery. Minimally invasive solutions, based on X-ray imaging and coregistered external navigation created a lot of interest within the surgical community and started to replace the traditional open surgery for many procedures. These solutions usually increase the accuracy and reduce the trauma. In general, they introduce new hardware into the OR and add the line of sight constraints imposed by optical tracking systems. They thus impose radical changes to the surgical setup and overall procedure. We augment a commonly used mobile C-arm with a standard video camera and a double mirror system allowing real-time fusion of optical and X-ray images. The video camera is mounted such that its optical center virtually coincides with the C-arm's X-ray source. After a one-time calibration routine, the acquired X-ray and optical images are coregistered. This paper describes the design of such a system, quantifies its technical accuracy, and provides a qualitative proof of its efficiency through cadaver studies conducted by trauma surgeons. In particular, it studies the relevance of this system for surgical navigation within pedicle screw placement, vertebroplasty, and intramedullary nail locking procedures. The image overlay provides an intuitive interface for surgical guidance with an accuracy of <;1 mm, ideally with the use of only one single X-ray image. The new system is smoothly integrated into the clinical application with no additional hardware especially for down-the-beam instrument guidance based on the anteroposterior oblique view, where the instrument axis is aligned with the X-ray source. Throughout all experiments, the camera augmented mobile C-arm system proved to be an intuitive and robust guidance solution for selected clinical routines.
Date of Publication: July 2010