Deriving indicators for breast conserving surgery using finite element analysis

D. Thanoon, M. Garbey, B. L. Bass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Breast conserving therapy (BCT), comprising a complete surgical excision of the tumour (partial mastectomy) with post-operative radiotherapy to the remaining breast tissue, is feasible for most women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The goal of BCT is to achieve local control of the cancer, as well as to preserve a breast that satisfies a woman's cosmetic concerns. Although most women undergo partial mastectomy with satisfactory cosmetic results, in many patients the remaining breast is left with major cosmetic defects including concave deformities, distortion of the nipple–areolar complex, asymmetry and changes in tissue density characterised by excessive density associated with parenchymal scarring, as well as breast pain. There are currently no tools, other than surgical experience and judgement, which can predict the impact of partial mastectomy on the contour, the deformity of the treated breast and the mechanical stress that it induces. In this study, we use a finite element model to execute virtual surgery and carry out a sensitivity analysis on the resection location, the resection size, the breast tissue mechanical property and the different post-surgery recovery stage. We output the result in two different built-in indicators labelled as the cosmetic and the functional indicators. This study used the breast model for three women with breast cancer who have been elected to undergo BCT and are being treated at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX. The goal of this study was to propose a first glimpse of the key parameter leading to satisfactory post-BCT cosmetic results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-544
Number of pages12
JournalComputer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 4 2015


  • breast conserving therapy
  • computational surgery
  • cosmetic indicator
  • mechanical stress
  • soft-tissue mechanics
  • tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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