Thermocoagulation in Deep Brain Structures Modelling, simulation and experimental study of radio-frequency lesioning

Detta är en avhandling från Institutionen för medicinsk teknik

Sammanfattning: Radio-frequency (RF) lesioning is a method utilising high frequency currents for thermal coagulation of pathological tissue or signal pathways. The current is delivered from an electrode with a temperature sensor, permitting control of the current at a desired target temperature. In the brain RF-lesioning can e.g. be used for severe chronic pain and movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. This thesis focuses on modelling and simulation with the aim of gaining better understanding and predictability of the lesioning process in deep brain structures. The finite element method (FEM) together with experimental comparisons was used to study the effects of electrode dimensions, electrode target temperature, electric and thermal conductivity of the brain tissue, blood perfusion and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) filled cysts. Equations for steady current, thermal transport and incompressible flow were used together with statistical factorial design and regression analysis for this purpose.Increased target temperature, electrode tip length and electrode diameter increased the simulated lesion size, which is in accordance with experimental results. The influence of blood perfusion, modelled as an increase in thermal conductivity in non-coagulated tissue, gave smaller simulated lesions with increasing blood perfusion as heat was more efficiently conducted from the rim of the lesion. If no consideration was taken to the coagulation the lesion became larger with increased thermal conductivity instead, as the increase in conducted heat was compensated for through an increased power output in order to maintain the target temperature. Simulated lesions corresponded well to experimental in-vivo lesions.The electric conductivity in a homogeneous surrounding had little impact on lesion development. However this was not valid for a heterogeneous surrounding. CSF-filled cysts have a much higher electric conductivity than brain tissue focussing the current to them if the electrode tip is in contact with both. Heating of CSF can also cause considerable convective flow and as a result a very efficient heat transfer. This affected simulated as well as experimental lesion sizes and shapes resulting in both very large lesions if sufficient power compared to the cysts size was supplied and very small lesions if the power was low, mitigating the heat over a large volume.In conclusion especially blood perfusion and CSF can greatly affect the lesioning process and appear to be important to consider when planning surgical procedures. Hopefully this thesis will help improve knowledge about and predictability of clinical lesioning.