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Int J Med Robot. 2014 Dec;10(4):495-504. doi: 10.1002/rcs.1561. Epub 2013 Dec 19.

A physics-based algorithm for real-time simulation of electrosurgery procedures in minimally invasive surgery.

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  • 1Intelligent Manufacture and Control Institution, Wuhan University of Technology, People's Republic of China.



High-frequency electricity is used in the majority of surgical interventions. However, modern computer-based training and simulation systems rely on physically unrealistic models that fail to capture the interplay of the electrical, mechanical and thermal properties of biological tissue.


We present a real-time and physically realistic simulation of electrosurgery by modelling the electrical, thermal and mechanical properties as three iteratively solved finite element models. To provide subfinite-element graphical rendering of vaporized tissue, a dual-mesh dynamic triangulation algorithm based on isotherms is proposed. The block compressed row storage (BCRS) structure is shown to be critical in allowing computationally efficient changes in the tissue topology due to vaporization.


We have demonstrated our physics-based electrosurgery cutting algorithm through various examples. Our matrix manipulation algorithms designed for topology changes have shown low computational cost.


Our simulator offers substantially greater physical fidelity compared to previous simulators that use simple geometry-based heat characterization. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


cutting simulation; electrosurgery; minimally invasive surgery; physics-based simulation; surgical simulation; virtual reality

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