The Visual Inspection of Surgical Tasks Using Machine Vision: Applications to Robotic Surgery
In this paper, the feasibility of using machine vision to assess task completion in a surgical intervention is investigated, with the aim of incorporating vision based inspection in robotic surgery systems. The visually rich operative field presents a good environment for the development of automated visual inspection techniques in these systems, for a more comprehensive approach when performing a surgical task. As a proof of concept, machine vision techniques were used to distinguish the two possible outcomes i.e. satisfactory or unsatisfactory, of three primary surgical tasks involved in creating a burr hole in the skull, namely incision, retraction, and drilling. Encouraging results were obtained for the three tasks under consideration, which has been demonstrated by experiments on cadaveric pig heads. These findings are suggestive for the potential use of machine vision to validate successful task completion in robotic surgery systems. Finally, the potential of using machine vision in the operating theatre, and the challenges that must be addressed, are identified and discussed.
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