Neurosurgical navigation systems have reduced the risk of complications from surgery and have allowed surgeons to remove tumors that were once considered inoperable. However, many techniques used by neurosurgical navigation systems to align pre- and intra-operative images are inaccurate when tissue deformations occur. Deformations commonly arise from tumor resection, gravitational effects on the organ, and the use of hyperosmotic drugs. Deformable intra-operative image registration remains a significant challenge for neurosurgical guidance.
In an NIH R01 grant proposal, “Image Registration for Ultrasound-Based Neurosurgical Navigation”, submitted alongside Dr. William Wells from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Kitware proposed two new methods for registering preoperative MRI with intra-operative 3D ultrasound data during craniotomies for brain tumor resection.
The proposed methods will be delivered as part of an extensible “NeuralNav” toolkit that provides a common API for fetching tracker data and intra-operative images from commercial (VectorVision by BrainLAB) and research (the Image-Guided Surgery Toolkit (IGSTK) by Georgetown University) surgical guidance systems. Development and validation of methods and efforts will be conducted in collaboration with top neurosurgeons, the developers of IGSTK and BrainLAB.
The proposal received a score of 119 which places it in the top 1.4 percentile of NIH proposals. It is anticipated that it will be funded by the NCI at $2.2M for five years. The Principle Investigator position on this proposal is shared by Dr. William Wells of Harvard and Dr. Stephen Aylward of Kitware. Collaborators include the Department of Neurosurgery at Duke University and BrainLab, a leading surgical navigation systems manufacturer.