Needle insertion is used in many percutaneous surgical procedures such as thermal ablation, biopsy and brachytherapy. Since accurate placement of the needle tip governs the success of these procedures, needle tip tracking is particularly important during the insertion. Many research groups use phantom materials to test their proposed needle insertion technique for either developmental or training purposes. This work suggests new methods to improve visualization of the needle tip inside the phantom materials and thereby an enhanced needle tip tracking. Needle insertion tests were performed in phantoms with different transparency, and the needle tip tracking was done via an ultrasound machine. Simple Linear Iterative Clustering (SLIC) was then used to track the needle tip in different phantoms. The proposed method improved the needle tip visualization in ultrasound needle tracking.

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