3D magnetic seed localization for augmented reality in surgery

Pierre Ambrosini*, Sara AzizianAmiri, Eliane Zeestraten, Tessa van Ginhoven, Ricardo Marroquim, Theo van Walsum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Purpose: For tumor resection, surgeons need to localize the tumor. For this purpose, a magnetic seed can be inserted into the tumor by a radiologist and, during surgery, a magnetic detection probe informs the distance to the seed for localization. In this case, the surgeon still needs to mentally reconstruct the position of the tumor from the probe’s information. The purpose of this study is to develop and assess a method for 3D localization and visualization of the seed, facilitating the localization of the tumor. Methods: We propose a method for 3D localization of the magnetic seed by extending the magnetic detection probe with a tracking-based localization. We attach a position sensor (QR-code or optical marker) to the probe in order to track its 3D pose (respectively, using a head-mounted display with a camera or optical tracker). Following an acquisition protocol, the 3D probe tip and seed position are subsequently obtained by solving a system of equations based on the distances and the 3D probe poses. Results: The method was evaluated with an optical tracking system. An experimental setup using QR-code tracking (resp. using an optical marker) achieves an average of 1.6 mm (resp. 0.8 mm) 3D distance between the localized seed and the ground truth. Using a breast phantom setup, the average 3D distance is 4.7 mm with a QR-code and 2.1 mm with an optical marker. Conclusion: Tracking the magnetic detection probe allows 3D localization of a magnetic seed, which opens doors for augmented reality target visualization during surgery. Such an approach should enhance the perception of the localized region of interest during the intervention, especially for breast tumor resection where magnetic seeds can already be used in the protocol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-733
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • 3D localization
  • Magnetic seed
  • Mixed-reality
  • Surgery


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