Development of Novel Concepts for Accurate Positioning in Interventional X-ray Systems

Interventional radiology is a medical discipline in which imaging equipment (e.g. X-ray, ultrasound, or computed tomography) is utilized to diagnose and treat diseases throughout the human body. Dedicated equipment allows for 2D and 3D imaging of (contrast enhanced) physical structures, which enables minimally invasive image-guided therapy.

PhD Candidate: ir. Jeffrey van Pinxteren
Supervisor: P.C.J.N. Rosielle, ir. R. van Loon (Philips Healthcare)
Promotor: J.P.M.B. Vermeulen, M. Steinbuch
Project Financing: Impulse II
Project Period: April 2016 – April 2020

Philips Healthcare has developed the Allura interventional X-ray system. This system features an X-ray source and detector, which are mounted to the ends of a C-shaped arm. This arm is part of a ceiling mounted stand, which uses three rotational Degrees of Freedom (DOFs) to position the imaging equipment in a spherical space around the patient. Combined with one translational DOF, this allows 2D images to be taken at various projections, along the entire length of the patient. Furthermore 3D CT-like reconstructions can be made by combining 2D images taken over an angular range. 

Despite its successful application in a wide range of clinical disciplines, Philips is continuously looking to further improve the Allura system. One key aspect is to achieve high image quality, which requires accurate, and reproducible positioning of the X-ray equipment over large angular ranges. Patient movements (related to scan duration) and system non-linearity impair this positioning, and are difficult to calibrate for. This PhD project therefore aims to develop new concepts for the positioning of the X-ray equipment, which focus on increasing scan velocity and range, and decreasing system deflections. In this, reducing the system mass, while retaining, or improving its stiffness plays a central role. These research topics are combined with the challenge to fit the system into existing medical routines, for which system volume and patient access is paramount.