A freehand ultrasound framework for spine assessment in 3D: a preliminary study

X-ray imaging is currently the gold standard for the assessment of spinal deformities. The purpose of this study is to evaluate a freehand 3D ultrasound system for volumetric reconstruction of the spine. A setup consisting of an ultrasound scanner with a linear transducer, an electromagnetic measuring system and a workstation was used. We conducted 64 acquisitions of US images of 8 adults in a natural standing position, and we tested three setups: 1) Subjects are constrained to be close to a wall, 2) Subjects are unconstrained, and 3) Subjects are constrained to performing fast and slow acquisitions. The spinous processes were manually selected from the volume reconstruction from tracked ultrasound images to generate a 3D point-based model depicting the centerline of the spine. The results suggested that a freehand 3D ultrasound system can be suitable for representing the spine. Volumetric reconstructions can be computed and landmarking can be performed to model the surface of the spine in the 3D space. These reconstructions promise to generate computer-based descriptors to analyze the shape of the spine in the 3D space.Clinical Relevance- We provide clinicians with a protocol that could be integrated in clinical setups for the assessment and monitoring of AIS, based on US image acquisitions, which constitutes a radiation-free technology.

E. García-Cano et al., "A freehand ultrasound framework for spine assessment in 3D: a preliminary study," 2020 42nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society (EMBC), 2020, pp. 2096-2100, doi: 10.1109/EMBC44109.2020.9176689.