A voxel-based finite element model for the prediction of bladder deformation.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • Marcel Van Herk
  • Xiangfei Chai
  • Marcel van Herk
  • Maarten C C M Hulshof
  • Arjan Bel


PURPOSE: A finite element (FE) bladder model was previously developed to predict bladder deformation caused by bladder filling change. However, two factors prevent a wide application of FE models: (1) the labor required to construct a FE model with high quality mesh and (2) long computation time needed to construct the FE model and solve the FE equations. In this work, we address these issues by constructing a low-resolution voxel-based FE bladder model directly from the binary segmentation images and compare the accuracy and computational efficiency of the voxel-based model used to simulate bladder deformation with those of a classical FE model with a tetrahedral mesh. METHODS: For ten healthy volunteers, a series of MRI scans of the pelvic region was recorded at regular intervals of 10 min over 1 h. For this series of scans, the bladder volume gradually increased while rectal volume remained constant. All pelvic structures were defined from a reference image for each volunteer, including bladder wall, small bowel, prostate (male), uterus (female), rectum, pelvic bone, spine, and the rest of the body. Four separate FE models were constructed from these structures: one with a tetrahedral mesh (used in previous study), one with a uniform hexahedral mesh, one with a nonuniform hexahedral mesh, and one with a low-resolution nonuniform hexahedral mesh. Appropriate material properties were assigned to all structures and uniform pressure was applied to the inner bladder wall to simulate bladder deformation from urine inflow. Performance of the hexahedral meshes was evaluated against the performance of the standard tetrahedral mesh by comparing the accuracy of bladder shape prediction and computational efficiency. RESULTS: FE model with a hexahedral mesh can be quickly and automatically constructed. No substantial differences were observed between the simulation results of the tetrahedral mesh and hexahedral meshes (

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012