Neural network modelling of soft tissue deformation for surgical simulation

Jinao Zhang, Yongmin Zhong, Chengfan Gu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a new neural network methodology for modelling of soft tissue deformation for surgical simulation. The proposed methodology formulates soft tissue deformation and its dynamics as the neural propagation and dynamics of cellular neural networks for real-time, realistic, and stable simulation of soft tissue deformation. It develops two cellular neural network models; based on the bioelectric propagation of biological tissues and principles of continuum mechanics, one cellular neural network model is developed for propagation and distribution of mechanical load in soft tissues; based on non-rigid mechanics of motion in continuum mechanics, the other cellular neural network model is developed for governing model dynamics of soft tissue deformation. The proposed methodology not only has computational advantage due to the collective and simultaneous activities of neural cells to satisfy the real-time computational requirement of surgical simulation, but also it achieves physical realism of soft tissue deformation according to the bioelectric propagation manner of mechanical load via dynamic neural activities. Furthermore, the proposed methodology also provides stable model dynamics for soft tissue deformation via the nonlinear property of the cellular neural network. Interactive soft tissue deformation with haptic feedback is achieved via a haptic device. Simulations and experimental results show the proposed methodology exhibits the nonlinear force-displacement relationship and associated nonlinear deformation of soft tissues. Furthermore, not only isotropic and homogeneous but also anisotropic and heterogeneous materials can be modelled via a simple modification of electrical conductivity values of mass points.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-70
Number of pages10
JournalArtificial Intelligence in Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • and force feedback
  • Cellular neural network
  • real-time performance
  • soft tissue deformation
  • surgical simulation

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