Computer simulations of thermal tissue remodeling during transvaginal and transurethral laser treatment of female stress urinary incontinence

Luke A. Hardy, Chun Hung Chang, Erinn M. Myers, Michael J. Kennelly, Nathaniel M. Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: A non-surgical method is being developed for treating female stress urinary incontinence by laser thermal remodeling of subsurface tissues with applied surface tissue cooling. Computer simulations of light transport, heat transfer, and thermal damage in tissue were performed, comparing transvaginal and transurethral approaches. Study Design/Materials and Methods: Monte Carlo (MC) simulations provided spatial distributions of absorbed photons in the tissue layers (vaginal wall, endopelvic fascia, and urethral wall). Optical properties (n,μas,g) were assigned to each tissue at λ=1064nm. A 5-mm-diameter laser beam and incident power of 5W for 15 seconds was used, based on previous experiments. MC output was converted into absorbed energy, serving as input for finite element heat transfer simulations of tissue temperatures over time. Convective heat transfer was simulated with contact probe cooling temperature set at 0°C. Variables used for thermal simulations (κ,c,ρ) were assigned to each tissue layer. MATLAB code was used for Arrhenius integral thermal damage calculations. A temperature matrix was constructed from ANSYS output, and finite sum was incorporated to approximate Arrhenius integral calculations. Tissue damage properties (Ea,A) were used to compute Arrhenius sums. Results: For the transvaginal approach, 37% of energy was absorbed in the endopelvic fascia target layer with 0.8% deposited beyond it. Peak temperature was 71°C, the treatment zone was 0.8-mm-diameter, and 2.4mm of the 2.7-mm-thick vaginal wall was preserved. For transurethral approach, 18% energy was absorbed in endopelvic fascia with 0.3% deposited beyond the layer. Peak temperature was 80°C, treatment zone was 2.0-mm-diameter, and 0.6mm of 2.4-mm-thick urethral wall was preserved. Conclusions: Computer simulations suggest that transvaginal approach is more feasible than transurethral approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Coagulation
  • Incontinence
  • Laser
  • Monte Carlo
  • Simulations
  • Thermal remodeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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