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Physiol Meas. 2018 Mar 15;39(3):034001. doi: 10.1088/1361-6579/aaa3c0.

A realistic pelvic phantom for electrical impedance measurement.

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Translational Medical Device Lab, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway City, Ireland. Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, College of Engineering and Informatics, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway City, Ireland.



To design and fabricate an anatomically and conductively accurate phantom for electrical impedance studies of non-invasive bladder volume monitoring.


A modular pelvic phantom was designed and fabricated, consisting of a mechanically and conductively stable boundary wall, a background medium, and bladder phantoms. The wall and bladders are made of conductive polyurethane. The background material is an ultrasound gel-based mixture, with conductivity matched to a weighted average of the pelvic cavity organs, bone, muscle and fat. The phantom boundary is developed using a computer tomography model of a male human pelvis. The bladder phantoms were designed to correlate with human bladder dimensions. Electrical impedance measurements of the phantom were recorded, and images produced using six different bladder phantoms and a realistic finite element model.


Five different bladder volumes were successfully imaged using an empty bladder as a reference. The average conductivity index from the reconstructed images showed a strong positive correlation with the bladder phantom volumes.


A conductively and anatomically accurate pelvic phantom was developed for non-invasive bladder volume monitoring using electrical impedance measurements. Several bladders were designed to correlate with actual human bladder volumes, allowing for accurate volume estimation. The conductivity of the phantom is accurate over 50-250 kHz. This phantom can allow changeable electrode location, contact and size; multi-layer electrodes configurations; increased complexity by addition of other organ or bone phantoms; and electrode movement and deformation. Overall, the pelvic phantom enables greater scope for experimentation and system refinement as a precursor to in-man clinical studies.


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