An anthropomorphic thyroid phantom for ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation of nodules

Tim Boers*, Wyger Brink, Leonardo Bianchi, Paola Saccomandi, Johan van Hespen, Germen Wennemars, Sicco Braak, Michel Versluis, Srirang Manohar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Background: Needle-based procedures, such as fine needle aspiration and thermal ablation, are often applied for thyroid nodule diagnosis and therapeutic purposes, respectively. With blood vessels and nerves nearby, these procedures can pose risks in damaging surrounding critical structures. Purpose: The development and validation of innovative strategies to manage these risks require a test object with well-characterized physical properties. For this work, we focus on the application of ultrasound-guided thermal radiofrequency ablation. Methods: We have developed a single-use anthropomorphic phantom mimicking the thyroid and surrounding anatomical and physiological structures that are relevant to ultrasound-guided thermal ablation. The phantom was composed of a mixture of polyacrylamide, water, and egg white extract and was cast using molds in multiple steps. The thermal, acoustical, and electrical characteristics were experimentally validated. The ablation zones were analyzed via non-destructive T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging scans utilizing the relaxometry changes of coagulated egg albumen, and the temperature distribution was monitored using an array of fiber Bragg grating sensors. Results: The physical properties of the phantom were verified both on ultrasound as well as in terms of the phantom response to thermal ablation. The final temperature achieved (92°C), the median percentage of the nodule ablated (82.1%), the median volume ablated outside the nodule (0.8 mL), and the median number of critical structures affected (0) were quantified. Conclusion: An anthropomorphic phantom that can provide a realistic model for development and training in ultrasound-guided needle-based thermal interventions for thyroid nodules has been presented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16906
JournalMedical physics
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 23 Dec 2023


  • MRI
  • polyacrylamide gel
  • radiofrequency ablation
  • thyroid phantom
  • ultrasound
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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