Anistropically varying conductivity in irreversible electroporation simulations

Nicholas Labarbera, Corina Drapaca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: One recent area of cancer research is irreversible electroporation (IRE). Irreversible electroporation is a minimally invasive procedure where needle electrodes are inserted into the body to ablate tumor cells with electricity. The aim of this paper is to propose a mathematical model that incorporates a tissue's conductivity increasing more in the direction of the electrical field as this has been shown to occur in experiments. Method: It was necessary to mathematically derive a valid form of the conductivity tensor such that it is dependent on the electrical field direction and can be easily implemented into numerical software. The derivation of a conductivity tensor that can take arbitrary functions for the conductivity in the directions tangent and normal to the electrical field is the main contribution of this paper. Numerical simulations were performed for isotropic-varying and anisotropic-varying conductivities to evaluate the importance of including the electrical field's direction in the formulation for conductivity. Results: By starting from previously published experimental results, this paper derived a general formulation for an anistropic-varying tensor for implementation into irreversible electroporation modeling software. The anistropic-varying tensor formulation allows the conductivity to take into consideration both electrical field direction and magnitude, as opposed to previous published works that only took into account electrical field magnitude. The anisotropic formulation predicts roughly a five percent decrease in ablation size for the monopolar simulation and approximately a ten percent decrease in ablation size for the bipolar simulations. This is a positive result as previously reported results found the isotropic formulation to overpredict ablation size for both monopolar and bipolar simulations. Furthermore, it was also reported that the isotropic formulation overpredicts the ablation size more for the bipolar case than the monopolar case. Thus, our results are following the experimental trend by having a larger percentage change in volume for the bipolar case than the monopolar case. Conclusions: The predicted volume of ablated cells decreased, and could be a possible explanation for the slight over-prediction seen by isotropic-varying formulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20
JournalTheoretical Biology and Medical Modelling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Health Informatics


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