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When change happens: computer assistance and image guidance for minimally invasive therapy.
Computer-assisted interventions are medical procedures that rely on image guidance and computer-based systems to provide visualisation and navigation information to the clinician, when direct vision of the sites or targets to be treated is not available, during minimally invasive procedures. Recent advances in medical image acquisition and processing, accompanied by technological breakthroughs in image fusion, visualisation and display have accelerated the adoption of minimally invasive approaches for a variety of medical procedures. This Letter is intended to serve as a brief overview of available image guidance and computer-assisted technology in the context of popular minimally invasive applications, while outlining some of the limitations and challenges in the transition from laboratory to clinical care.