Feasibility of Robot-Assisted Ultrasound Imaging with Force Feedback for Assessment of Thyroid Diseases

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiology

Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Bioimaging and Biomedical Optics | Endocrine System Diseases | Radiology | Robotics


Medical ultrasound is extensively used to define tissue textures and to characterize lesions, and it is the modality of choice for detection and follow-up assessment of thyroid diseases. Classical medical ultrasound procedures are performed manually by an occupational operator with a hand-held ultrasound probe. These procedures require high physical and cognitive burden and yield clinical results that are highly operator-dependent, therefore frequently diminishing trust in ultrasound imaging data accuracy in repetitive assessment. A robotic ultrasound procedure, on the other hand, is an emerging paradigm integrating a robotic arm with an ultrasound probe. It achieves an automated or semi-automated ultrasound scanning by controlling the scanning trajectory, region of interest, and the contact force. Therefore, the scanning becomes more informative and comparable in subsequent examinations over a long-time span. In this work, we present a technique for allowing operators to reproduce reliably comparable ultrasound images with the combination of predefined trajectory execution and real-time force feedback control. The platform utilized features a 7-axis robotic arm capable of 6-DoF force-torque sensing and a linear-array ultrasound probe. The measured forces and torques affecting the probe are used to adaptively modify the predefined trajectory during autonomously performed examinations and probe-phantom interaction force accuracy is evaluated. In parallel, by processing and combining ultrasound B-Mode images with probe spatial information, structural features can be extracted from the scanning volume through a 3D scan. The validation was performed on a tissue-mimicking phantom containing thyroid features, and we successfully demonstrated high image registration accuracy between multiple trials.


robotic ultrasound, 3D ultrasound, ultrasound image registration, force control, motion planning, 3D imaging

DOI of Published Version



Kaminski JT, Rafatzand K, Zhang HK. Feasibility of Robot-Assisted Ultrasound Imaging with Force Feedback for Assessment of Thyroid Diseases. Proc SPIE Int Soc Opt Eng. 2020 Feb;11315:113151D. doi: 10.1117/12.2551118. Epub 2020 Mar 16. PMID: 32742057; PMCID: PMC7392820. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Proceedings of SPIE--the International Society for Optical Engineering

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID