Epidural needle length measurement by video processing

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Authors: Vaughan, N., Dubey, V.N., Wee, M.Y.K. and Isaacs, R.

Journal: IET Conference Publications

Volume: 2012

Issue: 600 CP

DOI: 10.1049/cp.2012.0446

This paper presents a novel image processing algorithm to measure the length and depth of an epidural needle during insertion. A wireless camera is used which transmits video during insertion to a host computer. The computer contains the image processing algorithm to detect the visible needle in the image and measures the length. The measurement is done by HSV background removal, colour comparison and using RGB histograms to locate 10mm markings on the Tuohy needle shaft. The visible length is then subtracted from the known length of the needle to calculate the depth of the needle tip. The camera can be placed in the operating theatre up to one meter away from the needle insertion site. The purpose of measuring needle depth in real time is to precisely place the needle in the epidural space.

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