A novel method for accurate needle-tip identification in trans-rectal ultrasound-based high-dose-rate prostate brachytherapy

Dandan Zheng, Dorin A. Todor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: In real-time trans-rectal ultrasound (TRUS)-based high-dose-rate prostate brachytherapy, the accurate identification of needle-tip position is critical for treatment planning and delivery. Currently, needle-tip identification on ultrasound images can be subject to large uncertainty and errors because of ultrasound image quality and imaging artifacts. To address this problem, we developed a method based on physical measurements with simple and practical implementation to improve the accuracy and robustness of needle-tip identification. Methods and Materials: Our method uses measurements of the residual needle length and an off-line pre-established coordinate transformation factor, to calculate the needle-tip position on the TRUS images. The transformation factor was established through a one-time systematic set of measurements of the probe and template holder positions, applicable to all patients. To compare the accuracy and robustness of the proposed method and the conventional method (ultrasound detection), based on the gold-standard X-ray fluoroscopy, extensive measurements were conducted in water and gel phantoms. Results: In water phantom, our method showed an average tip-detection accuracy of 0.7. mm compared with 1.6. mm of the conventional method. In gel phantom (more realistic and tissue-like), our method maintained its level of accuracy while the uncertainty of the conventional method was 3.4. mm on average with maximum values of over 10. mm because of imaging artifacts. Conclusions: A novel method based on simple physical measurements was developed to accurately detect the needle-tip position for TRUS-based high-dose-rate prostate brachytherapy. The method demonstrated much improved accuracy and robustness over the conventional method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-473
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Brachytherapy
  • HDR
  • Prostate
  • Trans-rectal ultrasound (TRUS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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