Visiting a Sequence of Points with a Bevel-Tip Needle

Published in LATIN 2010, 2010

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Many surgical procedures could benefit from guiding a bevel-tip needle along circular arcs to multiple treatment points in a patient. At each treatment point, the needle can inject a radioactive pellet into a cancerous region or extract a tissue sample. Our main result is an algorithm to steer a bevel-tip needle through a sequence of treatment points in the plane while minimizing the number of times that the needle must be reoriented. This algorithm is related to polygon touring algorithms and takes quadratic time when consecutive points in the sequence are sufficiently separated. We can also guide a needle through an arbitrary sequence of points in the plane by accounting for a lack of optimal substructure.

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