Modeling of soft tissue thermal damage based on GPU acceleration

Jinao Zhang, Jeremy Hills, Yongmin Zhong, Bijan Shirinzadeh, Julian A Smith, Chengfan Gu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Hyperthermia treatments require precise control of thermal energy to form the coagulation zones which sufficiently cover the tumor without affecting surrounding healthy tissues. This has led modeling of soft tissue thermal damage to become important in hyperthermia treatments to completely eradicate tumors without inducing tissue damage to surrounding healthy tissues. This paper presents a methodology based on GPU acceleration for modeling and analysis of bio-heat conduction and associated thermal-induced tissue damage for prediction of soft tissue damage in thermal ablation, which is a typical hyperthermia therapy. The proposed methodology combines the Arrhenius Burn integration with Pennes' bio-heat transfer for prediction of temperature field and thermal damage in soft tissues. The problem domain is spatially discretized on 3-D linear tetrahedral meshes by the Galerkin finite element method and temporally discretized by the explicit forward finite difference method. To address the expensive computation load involved in the finite element method, GPU acceleration is implemented using the High-Level Shader Language and achieved via a sequential execution of compute shaders in the GPU rendering pipeline. Simulations on a cube-shape specimen and comparison analysis with standalone CPU execution were conducted, demonstrating the proposed GPU-accelerated finite element method can effectively predict the temperature distribution and associated thermal damage in real time. Results show that the peak temperature is achieved at the heat source point and the variation of temperature is mainly dominated in its direct neighbourhood. It is also found that by the continuous application of point-source heat energy, the tissue at the heat source point is quickly necrotized in a matter of seconds, while the entire neighbouring tissues are fully necrotized in several minutes. Further, the proposed GPU acceleration significantly improves the computational performance for soft tissue thermal damage prediction, leading to a maximum reduction of 55.3 times in computation time comparing to standalone CPU execution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-12
Number of pages8
JournalComputer Assisted Surgery
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Arrhenius Burn integration
  • finite element method
  • Graphics Processing Unit
  • Pennes’ bio-heat equation
  • thermal ablation
  • Thermal damage

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