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The Effect of Material Modeling on Finite Element Analysis of Human Breast Biomechanics: a simplified finite element model of the human breast

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Backgorund: The most recent applications of finite element (FE) modeling demonstrated its great potential in the bioengineering domain. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) showed the reliability of computational mechanics for the estimation of organs motion. However, there are still opened questions about modeling. Particularly, modeling the human breast mechanics there is no common agreement about the complexity of material model. Moreover, the opinions about the influences of geometrical boundary conditions and material models on the accuracy of a breast FE model are different. The goal of this work is to demonstrate the importance of material modeling in FE models of human breast. To predict breast displacement linear elastic material models can be inappropriate or not able to model large deformations occurring in a soft tissue such as that one human breast is composed.

Method: In this work, material models employed in a simple FE model of a human breast, undergoing large deformation due to the gravity effect, have been analyzed. A simple emi-spherical geometry is used to model the shape of a human breast. Different material models are investigated to accurately model changes in terms of displacement, stress, and reaction forces distribution. The results gained using a neo-Hookean model are compared with the ones obtained employing its linear approximation. A further comparison is performed between two pseudo-nonlinear models and their Neo-Hookean and Mooney-Rivlin least square approximations.

Results: Results obtained using nonlinear hyperelastic models have been compared with their linear and pseudo-nonlinear approximations. They showed that differences, in terms of displacement, ranging between 20% and more than 80%, may occur and that large differences are present in terms of maximum principal stresses when the displacement is correctly approximated.

Conclusion: This study clearly shows that in a FE model simulating large deformations material modeling influences strongly the accuracy of the solution.
Journal: Journal of Applied Biomaterials and Biomechanics
ISSN: 1722-6899
Issue: 1
Volume: 12
Pages: 27-34
Publication year:2012
Keywords:finite element analysis, nonlinear elasticity, linear elasticity, human breast modeling