Images from ordinary laparoscopes and endoscopes are two dimensional (2D), meaning the surgeon’s depth perception is hindered. The proposed method supplements the 2D image with an image of the depth profile of the surface. The depth profile is obtained in real time without surface contact. The profilometer uses the same principle for acquiring distance information as the divergence-ratio axi-vision camera. The profilometer was added to an ordinary laparoscope with minimal increase in the weight and diameter of the shaft. With the profilometer added, there was a significant improvement in the ability to detect minute protrusions.
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