Hyperspectral Imaging for Skin Feature Detection: Advances in Markerless Tracking for Spine Surgery

Francesca Manni (Corresponding author), Fons van der Sommen, Svitlana Zinger, Caifeng Shan, Ronald Holthuizen, Marco Lai, Gustav Burstrom, Richelle J. M. Hoveling , Erik Edstrom, Adrian Elmi-Terander, Peter H.N. de With

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In spinal surgery, surgical navigation is an essential tool for safe intervention, including the placement of pedicle screws without injury to nerves and blood vessels. Commercially available systems typically rely on the tracking of a dynamic reference frame attached to the spine of the patient. However, the reference frame can be dislodged or obscured during the surgical procedure, resulting in loss of navigation. Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) captures a large number of spectral information bands across the electromagnetic spectrum, providing image information unseen by the human eye. We aim to exploit HSI to detect skin features in a novel methodology to track patient position in navigated spinal surgery. In our approach, we adopt two local feature detection methods, namely a conventional handcrafted local feature and a deep learning-based feature detection method, which are compared to estimate the feature displacement between different frames due to motion. To demonstrate the ability of the system in tracking skin features, we acquire hyperspectral images of the skin of 17 healthy volunteers. Deep-learned skin features are detected and localized with an average error of only 0.25 mm, outperforming the handcrafted local features with respect to the ground truth based on the use of optical markers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4078
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2020


  • Deep local features
  • Feature detection
  • Hyperspectral imaging
  • Markerless tracking
  • Spine surgery


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