Electrical Engineering
      and Computer Sciences

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences


UC Berkeley


2009 Research Summary

Simulation of Deformable Tissue for Surgical Needle Insertion

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Nuttapong Chentanez, Ron Alterovitz, Jijie Xu, Vincent Duindam, Ken Goldberg, James O'Brien and Jonathan Shewchuk

Steerable needles composed of a highly flexible material and a bevel tip offer greater mobility compared to rigid needles for minimally-invasive medical procedures. Because the needle has a bevel tip, it will trace out a curve path inside the tissue. By rotating the base, the needle could be steered to avoid vital organs. Computer simulation of the interaction between the needle and the human tissue can be useful in helping the surgeon plan the procedures.

In this project, we consider the problem of 3D simulation of needle insertion procedures, where we use the Finite Element Method (FEM) to model the needle flexibility and the tissue deformation. Our simulation method uses a tetrahedral mesh to represent the tissue and a chain of nodes to represent the needle. We propose an efficient algorithm to maintain a collocation property where the chain contains only connected nodes and edges in the tetrahedral mesh. The tissue and the needle are simulated and coupled together in real time using our novel method. In addition to developing the simulation system, we also plan to explore the planning aspect of the steerable needle insertion to robustly reach the target region while avoiding vital organs.

Figure 1
Figure 1: Needle and prostate mesh