Method: Geometric calibration of the C-arm was performed offline in two rotational directions (orbit α, orbit β). Patient registration was performed using image-based 3D-2D registration with an initially acquired radiograph of the patient. This approach for patient registration eliminated the requirement for external tracking devices inside the operating room, allowing virtual fluoroscopy using commonly available systems in fluoroscopically guided procedures within standard surgical workflow. Geometric accuracy was evaluated in terms of projection distance error (PDE) in anatomical fiducials. A pilot study was conducted to evaluate the utility of virtual fluoroscopy to aid C-arm positioning in image guided surgery, assessing potential improvements in time, dose, and agreement between the virtual and desired view.
Results: The overall geometric accuracy of DRRs in comparison to the actual radiographs at various C-arm positions was PDE (mean ± std) = 1.6 ± 1.1 mm. The conventional approach required on average 8.0 ± 4.5 radiographs spent “fluoro hunting” to obtain the desired view. Positioning accuracy improved from 2.6o ± 2.3o (in α) and 4.1o ± 5.1o (in β) in the conventional approach to 1.5o ± 1.3o and 1.8o ± 1.7o, respectively, with the virtual fluoroscopy approach.
Conclusion: Virtual fluoroscopy could improve accuracy of C-arm positioning and save time and radiation dose in the operating room. Such a system could be valuable to training of fluoroscopy technicians as well as intraoperative use in fluoroscopically guided procedures.