Radiofrequency Ablation for Treating Chronic Pain of Bones: Effects of Nerve Locations
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The present study aims at evaluating the effects of target nerve location from the bone tissue during continuous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for chronic pain relief. A generalized three-dimensional heterogeneous computational model comprising of muscle, bone and target nerve has been considered. The continuous RFA has been performed through the monopolar needle electrode placed parallel to the target nerve. Finite-element-based coupled thermo-electric analysis has been conducted to predict the electric field and temperature distributions as well as the lesion volume attained during continuous RFA application. The quasi-static approximation of the Maxwell’s equations has been used to compute the electric field distribution and the Pennes bioheat equation has been used to model the heat transfer phenomenon during RFA of the target nerve. The electrical and thermo-physical properties considered in the present numerical study have been acquired from the well-characterized values available in the literature. The protocol of the RFA procedure has been adopted from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved commercial devices available in the market and reported in the previous clinical studies. Temperature-dependent electrical conductivity along with the piecewise model of blood perfusion have been considered to correlate with the in-vivo scenarios. The numerical simulation results, presented in this work, reveal a strong dependence of lesion volume on the target nerve location from the considered bone. It is expected that the findings of this study would assist in providing a priori critical information to the clinical practitioners for enhancing the success rate of continuous RFA technique in addressing the chronic pain problems of bones.