The geometry used. The left carotid artery is shown in this figure labelled with ca. The following letters indicate the orientation: s for superior, i for inferior, p for posterior, a for anterior, l for left, r for right. (a) is a photo of the human anatomy in the neck area. The carotid artery is shown here after moving the vein to the cranial direction. (b) shows the corresponding freehand 3D ultrasound dataset of the human neck region acquired axially. The 3D image in the top of (b) shows the 3D ultrasound volume together with the carotid artery segmented with 3D Slicer software . The 3D model is displayed with 40% transparency. (c) displays the model used in the simulation approximated according to the geometry of the human neck shown in (a) and (b). The segmentation of the 3D ultrasound dataset in (b), is available as a video stream, too, showing the geometry of the carotid artery (see Additional file 1).