Automatic needle localization in intraoperative 3D transvaginal ultrasound images for high-dose-rate interstitial gynecologic brachytherapy

Jessica R. Rodgers, Derek J. Gillies, W. Thomas Hrinivich, Igor Gyackov, Aaron Fenster

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


High-dose-rate interstitial gynecologic brachytherapy requires multiple needles to be inserted into the tumor and surrounding area, avoiding nearby healthy organs-at-risk (OARs), including the bladder and rectum. We propose the use of a 360° three-dimensional (3D) transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS) guidance system for visualization of needles and report on the implementation of two automatic needle segmentation algorithms to aid the localization of needles intraoperatively. Two-dimensional (2D) needle segmentation, allowing for immediate adjustments to needle trajectories to mitigate needle deflection and avoid OARs, was implemented in near real-time using a method based on a convolutional neural network with a U-Net architecture trained on a dataset of 2D ultrasound images from multiple applications with needle-like structures. In 18 unseen TVUS images, the median position difference [95% confidence interval] was 0.27 [0.20, 0.68] mm and mean angular difference was 0.50 [0.27, 1.16]° between manually and algorithmically segmented needles. Automatic needle segmentation was performed in 3D TVUS images using an algorithm leveraging the randomized 3D Hough transform. All needles were accurately localized in a proof-of-concept image with a median position difference of 0.79 [0.62, 0.93] mm and median angular difference of 0.46 [0.31, 0.62]°, when compared to manual segmentations. Further investigation into the robustness of the algorithm to complex cases containing large shadowing, air, or reverberation artefacts is ongoing. Intraoperative automatic needle segmentation in interstitial gynecologic brachytherapy has the potential to improve implant quality and provides the potential for 3D ultrasound to be used for treatment planning, eliminating the requirement for post-insertion CT scans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2020
Subtitle of host publicationImage-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling
EditorsBaowei Fei, Cristian A. Linte
ISBN (Electronic)9781510633971
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes
EventMedical Imaging 2020: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling - Houston, United States
Duration: Feb 16 2020Feb 19 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceMedical Imaging 2020: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Gynecologic brachytherapy
  • Interstitial brachytherapy
  • Needle segmentation
  • Three-dimensional ultrasound
  • Transvaginal ultrasound
  • Ultrasound guidance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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