Research Institute of Visual Computing

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Prototype Percutaneous Transhepatic Cholangiography Training Simulator with Real-time Breathing Motion

Authors: Villard PF, Vidal FP, Hunt C, Bello F, John NW, Johnson S, Gould DA.


We present here a simulator for interventional radiology focusing on percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC). This procedure consists of inserting a needle into the biliary tree using fluoroscopy for guidance.


The requirements of the simulator have been driven by a task analysis. The three main components have been identified: the respiration, the real-time X-ray display (fluoroscopy) and the haptic rendering (sense of touch). The framework for modelling the respiratory motion is based on kinematics laws and on the Chainmail algorithm. The fluoroscopic simulation is performed on the graphic card and makes use of the Beer-Lambert law to compute the X-ray attenuation. Finally, the haptic rendering is integrated to the virtual environment and takes into account the soft-tissue reaction force feedback and maintenance of the initial direction of the needle during the insertion.


Five training scenarios have been created using patient-specific data. Each of these provides the user with variable breathing behaviour, fluoroscopic display tuneable to any device parameters and needle force feedback.


A detailed task analysis has been used to design and build the PTC simulator described in this paper. The simulator includes real-time respiratory motion with two independent parameters (rib kinematics and diaphragm action), on-line fluoroscopy implemented on the Graphics Processing Unit and haptic feedback to feel the soft-tissue behaviour of the organs during the needle insertion.


Prof. Nigel John

Prof. Nigel John

Prof John's primary research interests are in the application of computer graphics, haptics and virtual environments to medical applications.

Dr Franck Vidal

Dr Franck Vidal

Modelling and simulating complex and computatationally intensive phenomena in medical physics.