Heat transfer analysis of a radio frequency brain probe.
Gengler, Patrick Lee
Cooper, Thomas E.
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This analysis is concerned with the use of radio- frequency (rf) current in producing lesions in the brain. The technique consists of passing the current between an active electrode implanted in the brain and an indifferent electrode located on the skull. The resistivity of the tissue causes electrical energy to be converted into heat thus raising the tissue temperature. A problem that is sometimes encountered is uncontrollable boiling of the tissue near the probe tip. A theoretical model which considers the combined effects of conduction, blood flow, metabolism, and rf heating is presented to show the relative effects of each of the terms on the temperature field. It was found that conductive effects and rf heating effects are very important parameters in predicting lesion size, while the blood flow effect is only marginally important. It is proposed that by maintaining the temperature of the probe at a low constant value, the maximum temperature of the lesion can be kept well below the boiling point, yet because currents and time can be increased, the volume of tissue destroyed equals or even surpasses that of the conventional probe. Finally, the radiofrequency probes are compared to resistively heated probes. The lesions produced by these probes are shown to be significantly smaller than the lesions produced by the rf probes.
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