Thermomechanical Analysis of Soft-Tissue Thermotherapy

Alptekin Aksan, John J. McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Soft-tissue thermotherapy based on sub-ablative heating of collagetious tissuesfinds wide-spread application in medicine such as tissue welding, thermokeratoplasty, skin resurfacing, elimination of discogenic pain in the spine and treatment of joint instability. In this paper, heat-induced thermomechanical response characteristics of collagenous tissues are quantified by means of in vitro experimentation with a representative model tissue (New Zealand white rabbit patellar tendon). Three distinct heat-induced thermomechanical response regimes (defined by the rate of deformation and the variation of material properties) are identified. Arrhenius damage integral representation of collagenous tissue thermal history is shown to be adequate in establishing the master response curves for quantification of thermomechanical response for modeling purposes. The trade-off between the improved kinematical stability and compromised mechanical stability of the heated collagenous tissue is shown to be the major challenge hindering the success of subablative thermotherapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)700-708
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of biomechanical engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2003


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