METHODS: A pointer tool was designed for concurrent electromagnetic and optical tracking. Software modules were developed for automatic calibration of the measurement system, real-time error visualization, and analysis. The system was taken to an operating room to test for field distortion in a navigated breast surgery setup. Positional and rotational electromagnetic tracking errors were then calculated using optical tracking as a ground truth.
RESULTS: Our system is quick to set up and can be rapidly deployed. The process from calibration to visualization also only takes a few minutes. Field distortion was measured in the presence of various surgical equipment. Positional and rotational error in a clean field was approximately 0.90 mm and 0.31°. The presence of a surgical table, an electrosurgical cautery, and anesthesia machine increased the error by up to a few tenths of a millimeter and tenth of a degree.
CONCLUSION: In a navigated breast surgery setup, measurement and visualization of tracking error defines a safe working area in the presence of surgical equipment. Our system is available as an extension for the open-source 3D Slicer platform.