Abstract: Understanding the impact of thermally and mechanically loading biological tissue to supraphysiological levels is becoming of increasing importance as complex multi-physical tissue-device interactions increase. The ability to conduct accurate, patient specific computer simulations would provide surgeons with valuable insight into the physical processes occurring within the tissue as it is heated or cooled. Several studies have modeled tissue as porous media, yet fully coupled thermo-poromechanics (TPM) models are limited. Therefore, this study introduces a small deformation theory of modeling the TPM occurring within biological tissue. Next, the model is used to simulate the mass, momentum and energy balance occurring within an artery wall when heated by a tissue fusion device and compared to experimental values. Though limited by its small strain assumption, the model predicted final tissue temperature and water content within one standard deviation of experimental data for seven of seven simulations. Additionally, the model showed the ability to predict the final displacement of the tissue to within 15% of experimental results. These results promote potential design of novel medical devices and more accurate simulations allowing for scientists and surgeons to quickly, yet accurately, assess the effects of surgical procedures as well as provide a first step towards a fully coupled large deformation TPM finite element model.

Fankell, D.P., Regueiro, R.A., Kramer, E.A., Ferguson, V.L., Rentschler, M.E., "A Small Deformation Thermo-Poromechanics Finite Element Model and its Application to Arterial Tissue Fusion," ASME Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. 140(3): 031007 (11 pages), 2018.

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