LETI Scientists Developed a Digital Twin of a Neck for Effective Thyroid Surgery Planning

LETI Scientists Developed a Digital Twin of a Neck for Effective Thyroid Surgery Planning

The model will also allow studying the effect of surgical intervention on the biomechanics of the patient's neck.

10.10.2022 134

Traditionally, dynamic and functional anatomy, in particular the dynamic anatomy of the neck, is studied on cadaveric material. Today, however, digital transformation and the development of imaging technologies offer scientists the prospect of transitioning from tangible objects to artificial digital models that carry more information.

In terms of biomechanics, the neck is one of the most complex parts of the human body. It is extremely compact, has great mobility, and performs many vital functions. Despite considerable progress in the study of neck biomechanics using numerical models, questions remain about their accuracy.

"The goal of our research is to reproduce the biomechanics of the neck in the normal and postoperative states using the finite element method to predict the consequences of different surgeries. We have created a virtual anthropomorphic model of the human neck and are currently studying its biomechanics after different variants of thyroid gland removal," says one of the project authors, Artur Ovsepyan, a biomedical engineer at LETI.

Scientists generated a computer model from computed tomography data and magnetic resonance imaging data, which contains more than 80 anatomical structures of the neck, including the musculoskeletal system, organs, and fascia. Data segmentation was performed in collaboration with experts in medical imaging and topographic anatomy. Anthropomorphism was achieved using reverse engineering techniques.

The development was created using SolidWorks software, HyperMesh. Material modeling and finite element analysis were performed using Abaqus CAE software. The digital model has a visual interface for clarity and convenience. The results were published in the Annals of Anatomy journal.

"Our model showed a fairly good accuracy - 81.3% coincidence with the results obtained during surgery on cadaveric material. With its help, we can quantify the effectiveness of this or that thyroid surgery, and we can understand what the risks are for surgical defects. We can also understand the likelihood of recurrence."

Evgeny Pustozerov, Senior Researcher at the Almazov National Medical Research Centre

Scientists are now working to improve the accuracy of the model. Researchers from LETI, St. Petersburg State University, Moscow Region State University, Mechnikov Northwestern State Medical University, Sechenov University, and the Kirov Military Medical Academy took part in the scientific project.