Francisco Javier Arenas Puig
In my MSc Thesis I developed a computational model to describe the thermal and electrical phenomena involved in an RF-assist surgical resection in which a saline-linked RF electrode. Externally irrigated radiofrequency (RF) electrodes have been widely used to thermally ablate tumors in surface tissue and to thermally coagulate the transection plane during a surgical resection. As far as we know, no mathematical model has yet been developed to study the electrical and thermal performance of these electrodes, especially the role of the saline layer that forms around the electrode.
Numerical models of a TissueLink device model DS3.0 (Salient Surgical Technologies, Portsmouth, NH, USA) were developed. Irrigation was modeled including a saline layer and a heat convection term in the governing equation. Ex vivo experiments based on fragments of bovine hepatic tissue were conducted to obtain information which was used in building the numerical model. We compared the 60ºC isotherm of the computer results with the whitening contour in the heated samples.
The model reproduced thermal performance during heating in terms of lesion depth, and provided an explanation for: 1) the relationship between impedance, electrode insertion depth, and saline layer, and 2) the process of creating thermal lesions in the tissue with this type of electrode.