Physics in the service of surgery

14. July 2022.

In the June 2022 edition of its journal Europhysics News, the European Physical Society published a text on the work of researchers from the Institute of Physics, Belgrade gathered on the SimSurgery project, helmed by Marija Radmilović-Rađenović, PhD, of the same institution. The published paper discusses microwave ablation, i.e. a type of therapy against malignant cells which is faster than other thermal ablation methods, as stated in the journal, and can even be stronger deactivation of a tumour. However, the aim is to minimize the damage healthy issues undergo and make this treatment minimally invasive by means of computer modelling, as well as shorten recuperation time.

As Dr Marija Radmilović-Rađenović explicates, the computer model for the simulation of the electrosurgical procedure consists of three components. The first one is a model of an applicator which generates a microwave field in the tissue, the second describes the heat distribution in the tissue, while the third one details the heat effect on tumour cells and their destruction.

In the new edition of Europhysics News journal, the work of the research team congregated on the project SimSurgery from 2021 has been described, in which they developed two-dimensional calculations, and quickly after that, the same team developed the three-dimensional model, which is one of the rare ones in the world of this type. ’Due to the complexity of models and available computing resources, most of the existing numerical calculations are based on the use of two-dimensional axisymmetric models which is often far from realistic procedures’, states Dr Radmilović-Rađenovic, describing why 3D models are important.

’Although there are numerous projects dedicated to the simulation and computer-assisted surgical interventions, there is a handful of projects tackling the simulation of electrosurgical interventions’, explains Dr Radmilović-Rađenović, noting that one of these is precisely the multidisciplinary project she is the leader of, funded by the Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia within the framework of the IDEAS programme. The Project is dedicated to the development of a software package for determining the optimal conditions necessary to ensure minimal tissue damage during the intervention which encompasses the application of electric current on biological tissue.

’One of the significant goals of the project is to develop a software packet, that is easy to use for users who are not familiar with the methodology of modelling, such as surgeons’, says Dr Radmilović-Rađenović, continuing that the development of the 3-D model is planned for other modules of electrosurgical interventions as well, in order to complete the software package.

More about project SimSurgery in Europhysics News