Image-guided interventions (IGIs) entail the use of imaging to augment or replace direct vision during therapeutic interventions, with the overall goal is to provide effective treatment in a less invasive manner, as an alternative to traditional open surgery, while reducing patient trauma and shortening the recovery time post-procedure. IGIs rely on pre-operative images, surgical tracking and localization systems, and intra-operative images to provide correct views of the surgical scene. Pre-operative images are used to generate patient-specific anatomical models that are then registered to the patient using the surgical tracking system, and often complemented with real-time, intra-operative images. IGI systems are subject to uncertainty from several sources, including surgical instrument tracking / localization uncertainty, model-to-patient registration uncertainty, user-induced navigation uncertainty, as well as the uncertainty associated with the calibration of various surgical instruments and intra-operative imaging devices (i.e., laparoscopic camera) instrumented with surgical tracking sensors. All these uncertainties impact the overall targeting accuracy, which represents the error associated with the navigation of a surgical instrument to a specific target to be treated under image guidance provided by the IGI system. Therefore, understanding the overall uncertainty of an IGI system is paramount to the overall outcome of the intervention, as procedure success entails achieving certain accuracy tolerances specific to individual procedures. This work has focused on studying the navigation uncertainty, along with techniques to reduce uncertainty, for an IGI platform dedicated to image-guided renal interventions. We constructed life-size replica patient-specific kidney models from pre-operative images using 3D printing and tissue emulating materials and conducted experiments to characterize the uncertainty of both optical and electromagnetic surgical tracking systems, the uncertainty associated with the virtual model-to-physical phantom registration, as well as the uncertainty associated with live augmented reality (AR) views of the surgical scene achieved by enhancing the pre-procedural model and tracked surgical instrument views with live video views acquires using a camera tracked in real time. To better understand the effects of the tracked instrument calibration, registration fiducial configuration, and tracked camera calibration on the overall navigation uncertainty, we conducted Monte Carlo simulations that enabled us to identify optimal configurations that were subsequently validated experimentally using patient-specific phantoms in the laboratory. To mitigate the inherent accuracy limitations associated with the pre-procedural model-to-patient registration and their effect on the overall navigation, we also demonstrated the use of tracked video imaging to update the registration, enabling us to restore targeting accuracy to within its acceptable range. Lastly, we conducted several validation experiments using patient-specific kidney emulating phantoms using post-procedure CT imaging as reference ground truth to assess the accuracy of AR-guided navigation in the context of in vitro renal interventions. This work helped find answers to key questions about uncertainty propagation in image-guided renal interventions and led to the development of key techniques and tools to help reduce optimize the overall navigation / targeting uncertainty.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Kidneys--Surgery; Laparoscopic surgery--Complications--Prevention; Computer-assisted surgery

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Imaging Science (Ph.D.)

Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


Christian Linte

Advisor/Committee Member

Gill Tsouri

Advisor/Committee Member

John Kerekes


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes