Steering Flexible Needles through Soft Tissue

Needles are used in many forms of medical diagnosis and treatment, from tissue biopsies to placement of radioactive seeds for cancer treatment. We are developing a new approach to real-time image-guided adaptive needle placement using new thin, flexible needles that can be steered through deformable tissues around tissue obstacles to reach specified 3D anatomical targets.

Our approach will integrate real-time imaging, adaptive modeling and planning algorithms, and image-guided intraoperative needle control. By enhancing physicians' abilities to accurately maneuver inside the human body with minimal trauma to the patient, our needle steering approach has the potential to improve targeting accuracy for a wide range of procedures, including therapeutic imaging, chemotherapy, cell therapy, biopsy, and tumor ablation. These advances can improve the outcome of existing procedures and enable needle-based procedures for conditions that currently require open surgery or systemic treatment.

If you are interested in this project, check out the recent results and future opportunities discussed at the MICCAI Needle Steering Workshop that was held on Sep. 6, 2008.

More detailed information about this project can be found at the main project website hosted by Johns Hopkins University. That website also lists the people involved in the project and the publications written during the project (see here for the very latest publications). The details of active sub-projects at UC Berkeley can be found by following the links below

Prostate Brachytherapy Tutorial. Source: NYTimes Graphic (2009)

This project is a collaborative effort of the Berkeley Automation Sciences Lab with Johns Hopkins University and Queens University, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health under grant R01 EB006435.