Computer-based technologies, as we are familiar with from the consumer world, are now being used in modern operating rooms. One example of such an application is image-guided radiotherapy, which helps medical professionals perform non-invasive procedures.
Radiotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses ionizing radiation, delivered by a linear accelerator, to kill malignant cells and shrink tumors. Because this is a non-invasive procedure, the patient is fully conscious during the treatment. However they must remain exactly in the planned position as sometimes there are only millimeters between benign, extremely important tissue, such as the speech center, and the tumor tissue. Eradication of the malignant tissue must be as precise as possible, so the patient's position is closely tracked.
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. 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 course of the treatment.
More Accurate and 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. Throughout treatment, ExacTrac Dynamic monitors a patient’s positioning which is adjusted, if necessary, in case of deviations.
ExacTrac Dynamic achieves sub-millimetric accuracy on skin and on devices on or around the patient, and this accuracy is required at all times. Developing this groundbreaking positioning and monitoring system was a complex process requiring a high-performance surface camera. To ensure this level of performance, 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 chose Cognex to provide the 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, highly accurate 3D images. It features 3D 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 generated from over 1.5 million 3D data points to accurately reconstruct surface features of an image.
Transforming Healthcare through Patient-Focused Solutions
Medical facilities around the world have already begun to experience the difference a solution like Brainlab’s ExacTrac Dynamic and Cognex’s 3D-A5060 camera can have on treating challenging medical conditions, such as multiple brain metastases, and prostate and spine tumors. Together, Brainlab and Cognex are helping medical professionals to enhance their imaging capabilities, which can lead to more accurate diagnosis, more effective treatment, and ultimately improved patient care.
Disclaimer: Neither Cognex’s 3D-A5060 Area Scan 3D Vision System, nor any other Cognex System, is a medical device or accessory to a medical device nor is intended for diagnosis or treatment purposes nor has been cleared or approved for use by the Food & Drug Administration. For detailed information of Brainlab Radiosurgery/Radiotherapy System (including without limitation its status as a medical device and its function), please contact Brainlab. Nothing in this article constitutes any representation, warranty or assurance of any Cognex System, nor any Brainlab Radiosurgery/Radiotherapy System.
Research and information regarding the medical treatments and procedures described above were sourced from the following:
- Radiation Therapy. (2020, July 1). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/radiation-therapy/about/pac-20385162
- Radiotherapy. (2020, February 25). National Health Service. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/radiotherapy
- Radiation Therapy to Treat Cancer. (2019, January 8). National Cancer Institute. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/radiation-therapy