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Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg. 2019 Dec;14(12):2177-2186. doi: 10.1007/s11548-019-02029-6. Epub 2019 Jul 11.

Designing and validating a PVA liver phantom with respiratory motion for needle-based interventions.

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BioMechanical Engineering Department, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands.
Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Department, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
BioMechanical Engineering Department, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands.



The purpose is to design and validate an anthropomorphic polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) liver phantom with respiratory motion to simulate needle-based interventions. Such a system can, for example, be used as a validation tool for novel needles.


Image segmentations of CT scans of four patients during inspiration and expiration were used to measure liver and rib displacement. An anthropomorphic liver mold based on a CT scan was 3D printed and filled with 5% w/w PVA-to-water, undergoing two freeze-thaw cycles, in addition to a 3D-printed compliant rib cage. They were both held in place by a PVA abdominal phantom. A sinusoidal motion vector, based on the measured liver displacement, was applied to the liver phantom by means of a motion stage. Liver, rib cage and needle deflection were tracked by placing electromagnetic sensors on the phantom. Liver and rib cage phantom motion was validated by comparison with the CT images of the patients, whereas needle deflection was compared with the literature.


CT analysis showed that from the state of expiration to inspiration, the livers moved predominantly toward the right (mean: 2 mm, range: - 11 to 11 mm), anterior (mean: 15 mm, range: 9-21 mm) and caudal (mean: 16 mm, range: 6-24 mm) direction. The mechatronic design of the liver phantom gives the freedom to set direction and amplitude of the motion and was able to mimic the direction of liver motion of one patient. Needle deflection inside the phantom increased from 1.6 to 3.8 mm from the initial expiration state to inspiration.


The developed liver phantom allows for applying different motion patterns and shapes/sizes and thus allows for patient-specific simulation of needle-based interventions. Moreover, it is able to mimic appropriate respiratory motion and needle deflection as observed in patients.


Interventional radiology; Liver phantom; Needle deflection; Respiratory motion

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