A catheter tactile sensor for measuring hardness of soft tissue: measurement in a silicone model and in anin vitro human prostate model

Abstract

Tissue hardness is related to tissue composition, and this is often changed by disease. It is therefore of interest to measure the hardness in an objective and non-invasive way. A tactile sensor based on a vibrating piezoelectric ceramic element in a feedback loop is described. When the sensor touches an object it produces a frequency shift related to the hardness of the object. The aim of this study was to develop an in vitro hardness measurement method using a catheter type version of the sensor. The method was evaluated in an established silicone tissue model and on human prostate tissue in vitro. A linear relationship was found with a high degree of explanation (R2=0.98) between a cone penetration hardness standard (DIN ISO 2137) applied to the silicone model and the corresponding frequency shift. The results from measurements on a human prostate tissue sample, fixed with formalin, showed that the relative hardness measured with the tactile sensor correlated (R=−0.96, p<0.001, N=60) with the proposed hardness related to the histological composition of the prostate tissue. The results indicated that hardness of prostate tissue, and maybe hardness of human tissue in general, can be expressed according to the cone penetration standard and that the hardness can be measured with this tactile sensory system. These findings hold the promise of further development of a non-invasive tool for hardness measurement in a clinical situation.

DOI: 10.1007/BF02513357

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@article{Eklund1999ACT, title={A catheter tactile sensor for measuring hardness of soft tissue: measurement in a silicone model and in anin vitro human prostate model}, author={Anders Eklund and Anders Bergh and Olof A. Lindahl}, journal={Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing}, year={1999}, volume={37}, pages={618-624} }