Real-Time Finite Element Modeling for Surgery Simulation: An Application to Virtual Suturing

Jeffrey Berkley*, George Turkiyyah, Daniel Berg, Mark Ganter, Suzanne Weghorst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


Real-time finite element (FE) analysis can be used to represent complex deformable geometries in virtual environments. The need for accurate surgical simulation has spurred the development of many of the new real-time FE methodologies that enable haptic support and real-time deformation. These techniques are computationally intensive and it has proved to be a challenge to achieve the high modeling resolutions required to accurately represent complex anatomies. The authors present a new real-time methodology based on linear FE analysis that is appropriate for a wide range of surgical simulation applications. A methodology is proposed that is characterized by high model resolution, low preprocessing time, unrestricted multipoint surface contact, and adjustable boundary conditions. These features make the method ideal for modeling suturing, which is an element common to almost every surgical procedure. This paper describes constraints in the context of a Suturing Simulator currency being developed by the authors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-325
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Real-time finite element analysis
  • Surgery simulation
  • Suturing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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