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Brainlab Achieves Sub-Millimetric Accuracy for Patient Positioning with Revolutionary 3D Vision System

ExacTrac Dynamic Labels

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Computer-based technologies, as we are familiar with from the consumer world, are now used in modern operating rooms. One example of such an application is image-guided radiotherapy, which helps medical professionals perform non-invasive and safe procedures.

Radiotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses ionizing radiation, delivered by a linear accelerator, to kill malignant cells and shrink tumors. As this is a non-invasive procedure, the patient is fully conscious during the treatment, but they must remain exactly in the planned position (isocenter). Sometimes there are only millimeters between benign, extremely important tissue, such as the speech center, and the tumor tissue. The eradication of the malignant tissue must be as precise as possible, making continuous and exact tracking of the patient’s position critical.

Harnessing Innovation to Improve Patient Treatment

Brainlab is a global provider of surgical hardware and software. Their advanced products span across numerous fields, including oncology (specifically radiotherapy and radiosurgery), image-guided surgery, and integrated operating room solutions and image sharing and enhancement. Specifically, Brainlab’s radiotherapy solutions provide the ability to plan, monitor, and deliver radiation treatment for patients with cancerous or functional diseases, and achieve high precision throughout the whole course of the treatment.

More Accurate and More Effective Radiation Therapy

Brainlab’s ExacTrac® Dynamic System makes it possible to perform radiotherapy treatments with sub-millimetric precision. ExacTrac Dynamic tracks the patient’s position in real-time with the thermal surface camera and uses X-rays for internal verification (bony anatomy). A patient’s positioning is continuously and precisely monitored by ExacTrac Dynamic throughout the entire treatment and adjusted, if necessary, in case of deviations.

However, developing this groundbreaking positioning and monitoring system was a complex process requiring a high-performance surface camera. ExacTrac Dynamic achieves sub-millimetric accuracy on skin and on devices on or around the patient, and this accuracy is required at all times. To ensure this, the 3D camera used in the ExacTrac Dynamic system must not only be incredibly accurate but also very fast.

Observing the patient at every linear accelerator and couch angle was another challenge in building the system because the camera had to be placed at a specific position to have the optimal distance to the patient. The system must avoid exposure to any potential obstructions.

Finally, the system also needed to merge the heat signature images produced by the thermal camera with the patient’s reconstructed 3D surface structure as an added dimension to track the patient’s position.

To address these challenges, Brainlab partnered with Cognex to provide the right surface camera for the task – the 3D-A5000.

High-Precision 3D Camera for High-Precision Applications

Cognex’s 3D-A5000 is an area scan 3D camera designed to quickly capture high-resolution and highly accurate 3D images. It features 3D LightBurst technology which rapidly acquires images to maximize throughput.

LightBurst technology casts a unique blue light pattern on a part to deliver a full field-of-view (FOV) 3D point cloud image as fast as 200 milliseconds, allowing higher throughput and shorter cycle times for time-critical applications. 3D point cloud images are constructed from over 1.5 million 3D data points to accurately reconstruct surface features of an image.

Transforming Healthcare through Impactful, Patient-Focused Solutions

With Cognex’s 3D imaging technology added to the ExacTrac Dynamic patient positioning and monitoring system, global medical professionals are experiencing the difference a system like this has on treating challenging medical conditions, such as multiple brain metastases, and prostate and spine tumors. This revolutionary system – with its high level of accuracy, improved patient comfort, and straightforward workflows – is being applied to new treatments to further advance the possibilities of patient positioning.

For more information on Cognex application solutions:

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