Towards real-time finite-strain anisotropic thermo-visco-elastodynamic analysis of soft tissues for thermal ablative therapy

09/22/2020
by   Jinao Zhang, et al.
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Accurate and efficient prediction of soft tissue temperatures is essential to computer-assisted treatment systems for thermal ablation. It can be used to predict tissue temperatures and ablation volumes for personalised treatment planning and image-guided intervention. Numerically, it requires full nonlinear modelling of the coupled computational bioheat transfer and biomechanics, and efficient solution procedures; however, existing studies considered the bioheat analysis alone or the coupled linear analysis, without the fully coupled nonlinear analysis. We present a coupled thermo-visco-hyperelastic finite element algorithm, based on finite-strain thermoelasticity and total Lagrangian explicit dynamics. It considers the coupled nonlinear analysis of (i) bioheat transfer under soft tissue deformations and (ii) soft tissue deformations due to thermal expansion/shrinkage. The presented method accounts for anisotropic, finite-strain, temperature-dependent, thermal, and viscoelastic behaviours of soft tissues, and it is implemented using GPU acceleration for real-time computation. We also demonstrate the translational benefits of the presented method for clinical applications using a simulation of thermal ablation in the liver. The key advantage of the presented method is that it enables full nonlinear modelling of the anisotropic, finite-strain, temperature-dependent, thermal, and viscoelastic behaviours of soft tissues, instead of linear elastic, linear viscoelastic, and thermal-only modelling in the existing methods. It also provides high computational speeds for computer-assisted treatment systems towards enabling the operator to simulate thermal ablation accurately and visualise tissue temperatures and ablation zones immediately.

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