Needle Tip Localization in Ultrasound by Time-aware Deep Neural Networks



Block diagram of the framework for needle tip localization. The input to the neural network consists of a fused image sequence derived from enhanced tip images and their corresponding B-mode images. The red arrow points to the final tip location.

Invention Summary:

Ultrasound imaging is commonly used to guide the placement of needles for tissue biopsies, catheter insertions, drainages, and anesthesia. However, visual artifacts and/or low visibility make the needle location difficult in cases of steep insertion angles (40°-80°) and depths. Hence, there is a need for a method for an accurate real-time needle detection.

Researchers at Rutgers developed a novel machine learning-based image enhancement method for improved real-time localization of needles from ultrasound data, even when the needle shaft is invisible, and the tip has a low intensity.  It takes enhanced sequence of needle tip images and uses spatiotemporal information to detect the needle tip. This technology outperforms all commercially available needle enhancement platforms by ~ 30% and has a processing time of only 0.064 seconds.

This software is cohesive with current 2D and 3D cart-based and hand-held ultrasound systems for facilitated integration. 

Market Applications: Ultrasound-guided procedures requiring accurate needle visualization and localization like:

  • Percutaneous biopsies
  • Central venous cannulation
  • Regional anesthesia
  • Ablation
  • Brachytherapy
  • Fetal medicine


  • Locates moving surgical tools at steep insertion angles and depths
  • Applicable in both in-plane and out of plane imaging
  • High tip localization accuracy (<1mm)
  • Cost-effective
  • Real-time (15fps) processing speed
  • Applicable to other digital imaging techniques.

Intellectual Property & Development Status: Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or collaboration.

Publication: Hacihaliloglu I., Time-aware deep neural networks for needle tip localization in 2D ultrasound. Int J CARS (2021)

Patent Information: