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RF Tissue Ablation Simulation

Technical Challenge:
Radio frequency (RF) tissue ablation is a minimally invasive treatment commonly used to destroy tumors or alleviate tissue blockages. The simulation of RF tissue ablation helps device designers predict the thermal and electric fields in the affected tissue. There are, however, challenges in properly setting up the coupled multiphysics analysis and in determining realistic inputs to the model.

Animation showing temperature variation in tissue and blood using monopolar electrode

Animation showing temperature variation in tissue and blood using monopolar electrode


Veryst Solution:
We developed a COMSOL Multiphysics model of an RF ablation problem involving a monopolar electrode targeting a tissue close to a blood vessel. We accounted for the electric and heat transfer fields in the tissue and blood as well as the blood flow. We predicted the temperature variation and the damage evolution in the tissue. The animation above shows the temperature variation in the tissue and blood for a 20-second ablation procedure. The images below show the model we developed and the temperature and flow streamlines in the blood.  We then illustrated the sensitivity of the results to several parameters, including the placement of the electrodes, the variation of electrical and thermal conductivities with temperature, and the interface conditions between electrode and tissue. We also have a procedure to evaluate the relevant parameters using experimental testing, numerical simulation of the additional tests, and inverse calibration.

Schematic of monopolar ablation problem (altered from actual device geometry)

Schematic of monopolar ablation problem (altered from actual device geometry)


Temperature in the tissue and blood and flow streamlines in the blood

Temperature in the tissue and blood and flow streamlines in the blood

 

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