Optical Fiber Distributed Sensing Network for Thermal Mapping in Radiofrequency Ablation Neighboring a Blood Vessel
Abstract: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive form of thermotherapy with great potential in cancer care, having the capability of selectively ablating tumoral masses with a surface area of several cm2. When performing RFA in the proximity of a blood vessel, the heating profile changes due to heat dissipation, perfusion, and impedance changes. In this work, we provide an experimental framework for the real-time evaluation of 2D thermal maps in RFA neighboring a blood vessel; the experimental setup is based on simultaneous scanning of multiple fibers in a distributed sensing network, achieving a spatial resolution of 2.5 × 4 mm2 in situ. We also demonstrate an increase of ablating potential when injecting an agarose gel in the tissue. Experimental results show that the heat-sink effect contributes to a reduction of the ablated region around 30–60% on average; however, the use of agarose significantly mitigates this effect, enlarging the ablated area by a significant amount, and ablating an even larger surface (+15%) in the absence of blood vessels.
Keywords: radiofrequency ablation / optical fiber sensors / distributed sensors / cancer thermotherapies / mini-invasive therapy
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