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Comput Med Imaging Graph. 2013 Apr;37(3):207-23. doi: 10.1016/j.compmedimag.2013.01.010. Epub 2013 Mar 13.

An optical flow approach to tracking colonoscopy video.

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Imaging Biomarkers and Computer-Aided Diagnosis Laboratory, Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


We can supplement the clinical value of an optical colonoscopy procedure if we can continuously co-align corresponding virtual colonoscopy (from preoperative X-ray CT exam) and optical colonoscopy images. In this work, we demonstrate a computer vision algorithm based on optical flow to compute egomotion from live colonoscopy video, which is then used to navigate and visualize the corresponding patient anatomy from X-ray CT data. The key feature of the algorithm lies in the effective combination of sparse and dense optical flow fields to compute the focus of expansion (FOE); FOE permits independent computation of camera translational and rotational parameters, directly contributing to the algorithm's accuracy and robustness. We performed extensive evaluation via a colon phantom and clinical colonoscopy data. We constructed two colon like phantoms, a straight phantom and a curved phantom to measure actual colonoscopy motion; tracking accuracy was quantitatively evaluated by comparing estimated motion parameters (velocity and displacement) to ground truth. Thirty straight and curved phantom sequences were collected at 10, 15 and 20 mm/s (5 trials at each speed), to simulate typical velocities during colonoscopy procedures. The average error in velocity estimation was within 3 mm/s in both straight and curved phantoms. Displacement error was under 7 mm over a total distance of 287-288 mm in the straight and curved phantoms. Algorithm robustness was successfully demonstrated on 27 optical colonoscopy image sequences from 20 different patients, and spanning 5 different colon segments. Specific sequences among these were chosen to illustrate the algorithm's decreased sensitivity to (1) recording interruptions, (2) errors in colon segmentation, (3) illumination artifacts, (4) presence of fluid, and (5) changes in colon structure, such as deformation, polyp removal, and surgical tool movement during a procedure.

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