Use of image processing technology in operating rooms (image: Quest Medical Imaging BV)

Quest Medical Imaging BV in the Netherlands offers image processing systems with proprietarily developed multispectral cameras for the visualization of cancers during surgery. More and more hospitals are benefiting from improved image quality for more precise surgery. The resulting images displayed on a monitor during surgery enable the surgeon to accurately distinguish between tissue affected by a tumor and surrounding tissue during both invasive (open) and minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries.

The company has replaced its previous system with our programmable Camera Link frame grabber microEnable 5 marathon VCL and new VisualApplets based image processing algorithms. Image preprocessing and processing now take place on the FPGA processor without loading the CPU, increasing data throughput and concurrently achieving the very low latencies needed for medical technology. The multispectral camera simultaneously records in high definition (HD) a color image in the RGB color space and two fluorescent images in the NIR spectral range. The color image and one of the NIR images are combined for image output.

Programmable microEnable 5 marathon VCL frame grabber

Frame Grabber Operates Two Processing Modes

Quest Spectrum Platform with real-time result images (image: Quest Medical Imaging BV)

Instead of having to switch back and forth during surgery between black-and-white and color images, the surgeon has the option to choose between two alternative camera operating modes: either viewing the color and fluorescent images side by side or having both displayed together as a single, unified image. In so doing, the surgeon can better identify small tumors as well as control them with surgical devices. The frame grabber’s performance is high enough to process both operating modes. The project team, already well accustomed to FPGAs, tested the software independently using their own development environment, learned the handling with no special training, and integrated their own SDK within one to two weeks.

Read the whole case study in the magazine Vision Systems Design.