Abstract: Current efforts to evaluate the performance of laparoscopic arterial fusion devices are limited to costly, time consuming, empirical studies. Thus, a finite element (FE) model, with the ability to predict device performance would improve device design and reduce development time and costs. This study introduces a model of the heat transfer through an artery during electrosurgical procedures that accounts for changes in thermal material properties due to water loss and temperature. Experiments then were conducted by applying a known heat and pressure to carefully sectioned pieces of porcine splenic arteries and measuring cut completeness. From this data, equations were developed to predict at which temperature and pressure arterial tissue is cut. These results were then incorporated into a fully coupled thermomechanical FE model with the ability to predict whole artery cutting. An additional experiment, performed to examine the accuracy of the model, showed that the model predicted complete artery cut results correctly in 28 of 32 tests. The predictive ability of this FE model opens a gateway to more advanced electrosurgical fusion devices and modeling techniques of electrosurgical procedures by allowing for faster, cheaper and more comprehensive device design.
Fankell, D., Kramer, E., Cezo, J., Ferguson, V.L., Taylor, K.D., Rentschler, M.E., "A Novel Parameter for Predicting Arterial Fusion and Cutting in Finite Element Models," Annals of Biomedical Engineering. 44(11): 3295-3306, 2016.