A multi-physics model has been developed to investigate the effects of cellular level mechanisms on the thermomechanical response of ultrasonically activated soft tissue. Cellular level cavitation effects have been incorporated in the tissue level continuum model to accurately determine the thermodynamic states such as temperature and pressure. A viscoelastic material model is assumed for the macromechanical response of the tissue. The cavitation model based equation-of-state provides the additional pressure arising from evaporation of intracellular and cellular water by absorbing heat due to structural and viscoelastic heating in the tissue, and temperature to the continuum level thermomechanical model. The thermomechanical response of soft tissue is studied for the operational range of frequencies of oscillations and applied loads for typical ultrasonically activated surgical instruments. The model is shown to capture characteristics of ultrasonically activated soft tissue deformation and temperature evolution. At the cellular level, evaporation of water below the boiling temperature under ambient conditions is indicative of protein denaturation around the temperature threshold for coagulation of tissues. Further, with increasing operating frequency (or loading), the temperature rises faster leading to rapid evaporation of tissue cavity water, which may lead to accelerated protein denaturation and coagulation.
Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering 314, No. 1, pp. 71-84 (2017)