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Open AccessArticle

A Mechatronic Platform for Computer Aided Detection of Nodules in Anatomopathological Analyses via Stiffness and Ultrasound Measurements

1
Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, The BioRobotics Institute, 56025 Pisa, Italy
2
Department of Information Engineering, Università Degli Studi di Firenze, 50139 Florence, Italy
3
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche of Italy, Istituto di Fisica Applicata “Nello Carrara”, 50121 Florence, Italy
4
Azienda Ospedaliera Careggi University Hospital of Florence and University of Florence, 50134 Florence, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors share second authorship based on equal contribution.
Sensors 2019, 19(11), 2512; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19112512
Received: 30 March 2019 / Revised: 11 May 2019 / Accepted: 29 May 2019 / Published: 31 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Sensors for Healthcare and Medical Applications)
This study presents a platform for ex-vivo detection of cancer nodules, addressing automation of medical diagnoses in surgery and associated histological analyses. The proposed approach takes advantage of the property of cancer to alter the mechanical and acoustical properties of tissues, because of changes in stiffness and density. A force sensor and an ultrasound probe were combined to detect such alterations during force-regulated indentations. To explore the specimens, regardless of their orientation and shape, a scanned area of the test sample was defined using shape recognition applying optical background subtraction to the images captured by a camera. The motorized platform was validated using seven phantom tissues, simulating the mechanical and acoustical properties of ex-vivo diseased tissues, including stiffer nodules that can be encountered in pathological conditions during histological analyses. Results demonstrated the platform’s ability to automatically explore and identify the inclusions in the phantom. Overall, the system was able to correctly identify up to 90.3% of the inclusions by means of stiffness in combination with ultrasound measurements, paving pathways towards robotic palpation during intraoperative examinations. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer nodules detection; phantom; stiffness analysis; ultrasound analysis; visual analysis; automatic robotic platform; remote support for pathologists cancer nodules detection; phantom; stiffness analysis; ultrasound analysis; visual analysis; automatic robotic platform; remote support for pathologists
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MDPI and ACS Style

Massari, L.; Bulletti, A.; Prasanna, S.; Mazzoni, M.; Frosini, F.; Vicari, E.; Pantano, M.; Staderini, F.; Ciuti, G.; Cianchi, F.; Messerini, L.; Capineri, L.; Menciassi, A.; Oddo, C.M. A Mechatronic Platform for Computer Aided Detection of Nodules in Anatomopathological Analyses via Stiffness and Ultrasound Measurements. Sensors 2019, 19, 2512.

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