Variability of tissue mechanical response in Sus Domesticus porcine models from in vivo to ex vivo conditions

Faizan A. Malik, Bradley A. Drahos, Amer M. Safdari, Mark V. Mazzeo, Jack E. Norfleet, Robert M. Sweet, Timothy M. Kowalewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Healthcare simulators have been demonstrated to be a valuable resource for training several technical and nontechnical skills. A gap in the fidelity of tissues has been acknowledged as a barrier to application for current simulators; especially for interventional procedures. Inaccurate or unrealistic mechanical response of a simulated tissue to a given surgical tool motion may result in negative training transfer and/or prevents the "suspension of disbelief" necessary for a trainee to engage in the activity. Thus, where it is relevant to training outcomes, there should be an effort to create healthcare simulators with simulated tissue mechanical responses that match or represent those of biological tissues. Historically, this data is most often gathered from preserved (post mortem) tissue; however, there is a concern that the mechanical properties of preserved tissue, that lacks blood flow, may lack adequate accuracy to provide the necessary training efficacy of simulators. Methods and findings This work explores the effect of the "state" of the tissue testing status on liver and peritoneal tissue by using a customized handheld grasper to measure the mechanical responses of representative porcine (Sus domesticus) tissues in n = 5 animals across five test conditions: in vivo, post mortem (in-situ), ex vivo (immediately removed from fresh porcine cadaver), post-refrigeration, and post-freeze-thaw cycle spanning up to 72 hours after death. No statistically significant difference was observed in the mechanical responses due to grasping between in vivo and post-freeze conditions for porcine liver and peritoneum tissue samples (p = 0.05 for derived stiffness at grasping force values F = 5N and 6.5N). Furthermore, variance between in vivo and post-freeze conditions within each animal, was comparable to the variance of the in vivo condition between animals. Conclusions Results of this study further validate the use of preserved tissue in the design of medical simulators via observing tissue mechanical responses of post-freeze tissue comparable to in vivo tissue. Therefore, the use of thawed preserved tissue for the further study and emulation of mechanical perturbation of the liver and peritoneum can be considered. Further work in this area should investigate these trends further, particularly in regard to other tissues and the potential effects varying preservation methods may yield.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0268608
JournalPloS one
Issue number5 May
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Public Library of Science. All rights reserved.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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