Journal of Theoretical Medicine
Volume 1 (1999), Issue 4, Pages 247-262

Mathematical Modelling for Keyhole Surgery Simulations: Spleen Capsule as an Elastic Membrabe

1Department of Mathematics, University of Strathclyde, 26 Richmond St., Glasgow G1 1XH, UK
2Surgical Skills Unit, University of Dundee, Level 5, Ninerwells Hospital, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK
3Department of Mathematics, Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
4Department of Surgery, University of Dunde, Level 6, Niewells Hospital, Dundee DD1 9Sy, UK

Received 22 October 1997; Revised 31 March 1998; Accepted 26 June 1998

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We show that the mechanical properties of the outer covering (or capsule) of pig spleen can be modelled as a nonlinear elastic membrane with an exponential stress-strain Law. Knowledge of the caspule's elastic properties is important for the development of a virtual reality training package for keyhole surgery. Bccause capsule tissue is very fragile and tears when clamped and pulled it is not possible to obtain experimental data for which the usual uniform stretch data-fitting approach can be adoptcd.Instcad we perform experiments in which the capsule deforms non-uniformly and describe how numerical solutions of the corresponding boundary value problem can be fitted to the experimerimental data in order to validate the biomechanical model.