Frictional contact mechanics methods for soft materials: application to tracking breast cancers.
Mammography is currently the most widely used screening and diagnostic tool for breast cancer. Because X-ray images are 2D projections of a 3D object, it is not trivial to localise features identified in mammogram pairs within the breast volume. Furthermore, mammograms represent highly deformed configurations of the breast under compression, thus the tumour localisation process relies on the clinician's experience. Biomechanical models of the breast undergoing mammographic compressions have been developed to overcome this limitation. In this study, we present the development of a modelling framework that implements Coulomb's frictional law with a finite element analysis using a C(1)-continuous Hermite mesh. We compared two methods of this contact mechanics implementation: the penalty method, and the augmented Lagrangian method, the latter of which is more accurate but computationally more expensive compared to the former. Simulation results were compared with experimental data from a soft silicon gel phantom in order to evaluate the modelling accuracy of each method. Both methods resulted in surface-deformation root-mean-square errors of less than 2mm, whilst the maximum internal marker prediction error was less than 3mm when simulating two mammographic-like compressions. Simulation results were confirmed using the augmented Lagrangian method, which provided similar accuracy. We conclude that contact mechanics on soft elastic materials using the penalty method with an appropriate choice of the penalty parameters provides sufficient accuracy (with contact constraints suitably enforced), and may thus be useful for tracking breast tumours between clinical images.
Chung, J-H; Rajagopal, V; Laursen, TA; Nielsen, PMF; Nash, MP
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