Quantifying the Impact of Signal-to-background Ratios on Surgical Discrimination of Fluorescent Lesions.



By tracking the surgical instruments we were able to, for the first time, quantitatively and objectively assess how the instrument positioning is impacted by fluorescent SBR. Our findings suggest that in ideal situations a minimum SBR of 1.5 is required to discriminate fluorescent lesions, a substantially lower value than the SBR 2 often reported in literature.


Multi-parametric analysis showed that task completion time, time spent in fluorescence-imaging mode and total pathlength are metrics that are directly related to the SBR. Below SBR 1.5, these values substantially increased, and handling errors became more frequent. The difference in Dx and DM between the targets that gave SBR < 1.50 and SBR > 1.50, indicates that the latter group generally yields a 2.5-fold higher Dx value and a threefold higher DM value. As these values provide the basis for the PS score, proficiency could only be achieved at SBR > 1.55.


Using a custom grid exercise containing hidden fluorescent targets, a da Vinci Xi robot with Firefly fluorescence endoscope and ProGrasp and Maryland forceps instruments, we studied how the participants' (N = 16) actions were influenced by the fluorescent SBR. To monitor the surgeon's actions, the surgical instrument tip was tracked using a custom video-based tracking framework. The digitized instrument tracks were then subjected to multi-parametric kinematic analysis, allowing for the isolation of various metrics (e.g., velocity, jerkiness, tortuosity). These were incorporated in scores for dexterity (Dx), decision making (DM), overall performance (PS) and proficiency. All were related to the SBR values.


Surgical fluorescence guidance has gained popularity in various settings, e.g., minimally invasive robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery. In pursuit of novel receptor-targeted tracers, the field of fluorescence-guided surgery is currently moving toward increasingly lower signal intensities. This highlights the importance of understanding the impact of low fluorescence intensities on clinical decision making. This study uses kinematics to investigate the impact of signal-to-background ratios (SBR) on surgical performance.

More about this publication

Molecular imaging and biology
  • Volume 25
  • Issue nr. 1
  • Pages 180-189
  • Publication date 01-02-2023

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