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Visualization, Image Processing and Computation in Biomedicine

ISSN En Línea: 2162-3511

Archives: Volume 1, 2012 to Volume 2, 2013

Visualization, Image Processing and Computation in Biomedicine

DOI: 10.1615/VisualizImageProcComputatBiomed.2012004898

Platform for patient-specific finite-element modeling and application for radiofrequency ablation

Christian Rossmann
Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Frank Rattay
Division of Analysis and Scientific Computing, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria
Dieter Haemmerich
Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA; Department of Bioengineering, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina, USA


Finite element (FE) simulation is frequently used in biophysics problems, but applications using patient-specific geometry have been limited since generating patient-specific meshes is tedious and requires use of multiple software tools. We present a research tool as well as a workflow to generate patient-specific finite element models and demonstrate this tool for simulation of radiofrequency (RF) ablation−a commonly used clinical procedure for localized thermal cancer treatment where patient-specific simulation would allow computer-aided treatment planning. Our research tool allows pre- and post-processing of patient-specific models and provides integration with commercial FE software. Based on a liver cancer patient's CT data set, 3D geometry of bone, liver, tumor, and vessels was derived following tissue segmentation. A RF electrode was placed interactively within the tumor via our tool, and surfaces, as well as volumes, were meshed with triangular and tetrahedral meshes, respectively. Subsequently, tissue heating surrounding the RF electrode and vascular cooling were simulated via commercial FE software, and tissue temperature at the end of a 12-min ablation procedure was visualized as overlay over the patient's CT data with our tool. Simulations such as the one presented may provide additional information for the treating physician for more effective pretreatment planning of procedures. The presented tool may have additional applications in other areas where biophysical simulation of biomedical problems (e.g., biomechanical, bioelectrics) on patient-specific geometry is of interest.