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Needle placement errors: do we need steerable needles in interventional radiology?

Authors de Jong TL, van de Berg NJ, Tas L, Moelker A, Dankelman J, van den Dobbelsteen JJ

Received 20 December 2017

Accepted for publication 26 March 2018

Published 3 August 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 259—265


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Tonke L de Jong,1 Nick J van de Berg,1 Lisette Tas,1 Adriaan Moelker,2 Jenny Dankelman,1 John J van den Dobbelsteen1

1BioMechanical Engineering Department, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands; 2Radiology & Nuclear Medicine Department, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Purpose: Accurate and precise needle placement is of utmost importance in interventional radiology. However, targeting can be challenging due to, eg, tissue motion and deformation. Steerable needles are a possible solution to overcome these challenges. The present work studied the clinical need for steerable needles. We aimed to answer three subquestions: 1) What are the current challenges in needle placement? 2) What are allowable needle placement errors? and 3) Do current needles need improvement and would steerable needles add clinical value?
Methods: A questionnaire was administered at the Annual Meeting of ­Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology Society of Europe in 2016. In total, 153 respondents volunteered to fill out the survey, among them 125 (interventional) radiologists with experience in needle placement.
Results: 1) Current challenges in needle placement include patient-specific and technical factors. Movement of the target due to breathing makes it most difficult to place a needle (90%). 2) The mean maximal allowable needle placement error in targeted lesions is 2.7 mm. A majority of the respondents (85%) encounter unwanted needle bending upon insertion. The mean maximal encountered unwanted needle bending is 5.3 mm. 3) Needles in interventional radiology need improvement, eg, improved needle visibility and manipulability, according to 95% of the respondents. Added value for steerable needles in current interventions is seen by 93% of the respondents.
Conclusion: Steerable needles have the potential to add clinical value to radiologic interventions. The current data can be used as input for defining clinical design requirements for technical tools, such as steerable needles and navigation models, with the aim to improve needle placement in interventional radiology.

Keywords: clinical use, interventional radiology, needle bending, needle deflection, needle placement error, questionnaire, steerable needle

Creative Commons License This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. The full terms of the License are available at The license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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