Computerized Planning of Prostate Cryosurgery and Shape Considerations

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The current study aims to explore possible relationships between various prostate shapes and the difficulty in creating a computer-based plan for cryosurgery. This research effort is a part of an ongoing study to develop computational means in order to improve cryosurgery training and education. This study uses a computerized planner—a key building block of a recently developed prototype for cryosurgery training. The quality of planning is measured by the overall defect volume, a proprietary concept which refers to undercooled areas internal to the target region and overcooled areas external to it. Results of this study numerically confirm that the overall defect volume decreases with an increasing number of cryoprobes, regardless of the geometry of the prostate. However, the number of cryoprobes required to achieve the smallest possible defect may be unrealistically high (<30). Results of this study also demonstrate that the optimal cryoprobe layout is associated with a smaller defect for symmetric prostate geometries and, independently, for prostate models that better resemble a sphere. Furthermore, a smaller defect is typically achieved when the urethra passes through the center of the prostate model. This study proposes to create a cryoprobe convex hull for the purpose of initial planning, which is a subdomain similar in shape to the prostate but at a reduced size. Parametric studies indicate that a cryoprobe convex hull contracted by 7 to 9 mm in all directions from the prostate capsule serves as a quasi-optimal initial condition for planning, that is, a preselected number of cryoprobes placed in the cryoprobe convex hull yields favorable results for optimization. The cryoprobe convex hull could accelerate computer-based planning, while also being adopted as a concept for traditional cryosurgery training, when computerized means are absent.

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