Physiological Modeling

Just as a mechanic can replace the broken parts of a machine, doctors are constantly improving their ability to replace broken parts of the human body. ANSYS, in collaboration with several international research firms and universities, is helping to improve the process of modeling the human body to both create and prescribe life-bettering treatments.

ANSYS software offers the best solution for advanced multiphysics modeling by designing software that can import complex biological geometries, model complex physics interactions and perform automatic design exploration analysis, all within a single simulation environment.

The use of these models, combined with electromagnetic applications such as MRI and CT technology, allows healthcare professionals to create implants and devices to help heal and cure ailments of the spine, heart and bones.

The Virtual Physiological Human Project (VPHOP), a European consortium of biomedical companies on the cutting edge of treatments for osteoporosis and bone fracture, is one such example of what ANSYS software is working to achieve. The VPHOP is developing patient-specific models based on diagnostic imaging, incorporating that information into ANSYS simulation software, and consequently predicting the load various activities put on a skeleton. These models then allow clinicians to consider the risk and location of fracture for each patient.


Pathlines, colored by velocity, in cerebral vessel with aneurysm

Courtesy Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and MMS.

Another example is AnyBody, a collaboration between Aalborg University and AnyBody Tech that is developing more-accurate models of the entire skeleton. The project uses ANSYS software to provide loads applied by the muscles onto the bones. Researchers can consider the movement, muscular force and joint reactions of various patients then analyze the movements for stress and fatigue on any bone of the skeleton. As healthcare professionals assess the movement and force data from the model, they can determine how an implant will perform. The goal is to use this information to confirm proper behavior of an implant for various standard activities.

As engineers and doctors work to meld modeling software with electromagnetic imaging, more of the body will be rendered in three dimensions. ANSYS software is closing in on success with a 3-D model that captures a location of interest for various systems (respiratory, cardiovascular, skeletal or nervous) while the sections of less interest are rendered in 1-D. The ultimate vision is to enable designers to create detailed  3-D models of any part of the body — especially those parts needed to understand a given phenomenon — while using reduced-order models (ROM) for the rest of the body, de facto combining solution efficiency and model accuracy. These models will enable healthcare professionals to test patient-specific implants (such as bones and joints) and medical devices (such as those for cardiac rhythm management), in an efficient and cost-effective time frame.


Pathlines showing air flow patterns around face during inhalation

Geometry courtesy Materialise.