Simulation of Laser Ablation


  • Project type: R&D
  • Project duration: 6 months
  • Starting period: early 2017


In the last decades, innovative technologies in the field of interventional radiology rose to meet the requirements of minimally invasive procedures. Thus, a wide range of thermal ablation techniques is now available for tumor ablation. Radio-frequency (RF) ablation was the most common technique, however, it can cause adverse events such as stroke (due to blood clot formation). Alternative techniques have therefore been developed such as laser, microwave, HIFU, cryoablation and, recently, electroporation. All these techniques aim at generating a lesion within the tumor by heating or freezing the cells, until cellular death (apoptosis).

In this project, we will focus on laser ablation. The laser approach demonstrated low tumor recurrence after ablation, which is the most severe drawback of RF and cryoablation. The use of fiber optics to deliver the energy into the target makes possible the use of Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance images for both the guidance and the monitoring of the treatment (no artifact on images). Moreover, the laser ablation procedure is faster than HIFU, where the time requested to complete the ablation ranges from 30 minutes to hours or days.

A key to the success of all ablation techniques is the definition of the laser settings leading the treatment of the entire tumor, while avoiding critical damage to the surrounding tissues. Until now, the therapy planning only depends on the clinician’s experience. Commercial systems for planning are nearly non existent. Besides, the prediction must account for the influence of the soft tissue properties or the presence of blood vessels.

Previous Work

The research team MIMESIS (Inria) has already developed a heat transfer model taking into account for heterogeneous properties of the tissues. The project will rely on this work to predict the resulting ablation effect regarding specific laser settings.

Objectives of the Project

The purpose of the project is to build upon our current simulation results but extend them as follows:

  1. Improved simulation, accounting for tissue characteristics and blood flow
  2. Computation of optimal laser settings through inverse simulation  
  3. Integration of in vivo temperature measurements for higher accuracy (data-driven simulation)
  4. Development of a planning software


  • Knowledge in optimization methods, numerical methods and thermal equations
  • Knowledge in C++, python
  • Most of all, motivation is needed !


Hugo Talbot

Hugo Talbot

Sofa Consortium Coordinator
Stephane Cotin

Stéphane Cotin

Research Director