Extending the hybrid surgical guidance concept with freehand fluorescence tomography
Within image-guided surgery, ‘hybrid’ guidance technologies have been used to integrate the complementary features of radioactive guidance and fluorescence guidance. Here, we explore how the generation of a novel freehand fluorescence (fhFluo) imaging approach complements freehand SPECT (fhSPECT) in a hybrid setup. Near-infrared optical tracking was used to register the position and orientation of a hybrid opto-nuclear detection probe, while recording its readings. Dedicated look-up table models were used for 3D reconstruction. In phantom and excised tissue settings (i.e. flat-surface human skin explants), fhSPECT and fhFluo were investigated for image resolution and in-tissue signal penetration. Finally, the combined potential of these freehand technologies was evaluated on prostate and lymph node specimens of prostate cancer patients receiving prostatectomy and sentinel lymph node dissection (tracers: indocyanine green (ICG) + 99mTc-nanocolloid or ICG-99mTc-nanocolloid). After hardware and software integration, the hybrid setup created 3D nuclear and fluorescence tomography scans. Imaging resolution of fhFluo (1 mm) was superior to that of fhSPECT (6 mm). Fluorescence modalities were confined to a maximum depth of 0.5 cm, while nuclear modalities were usable at all evaluated depths (<2 cm). Both fhSPECT and fhFluo enabled augmented-and virtual-reality navigation towards segmented image hotspots, including relative hotspot quantification with an accuracy of 3.9 and 4.1%, respectively. Imaging in surgical specimens confirmed these trends (fhSPECT: in-depth detectability, low resolution; fhFluo: superior resolution, superficial detectability). Overall, when radioactive and fluorescent tracer signatures are used, fhFluo has complementary value to fhSPECT. Combined the freehand technologies render a unique hybrid imaging and navigation modality.