Numerical computation of radio-frequency induced thermotherapy

The radio-frequency (RF) ablation of primary and metastatic liver tumors is a promising treatment as an alternative to chemotherapy, radiotherapy and the surgical resection. A small probe that contains two electrodes is inserted into the lesion. Now an electric current flows through the tissue and induces heat due to the tissue's electric resistance. This heating causes a denaturation of proteins and thus leads to a destruction of the tissue in the vicinity of the RF-probe.

Together with appropriate mathematical, physical and biochemical models which describe the ablation process the success of the treatment can be estimated or even optimized. The goal is to reduce the recurrency rate by a complete destruction of the malignant tissue.

The talk describes a model for the simulation of RF-ablation. This model consists of a system of partial-differential-equations, which describe the distribution of the electric potential in the vicinity of the RF- applicator, the evolution of heat in the tissue and finally the damage which is inflicted on the tissue. The talk discusses various challenges that arise from a discretization of the model. Several examples of the model's application to synthetic geometries and human anatomies obtained from CT-scans are shown.