Breast lesion tissue can be extremely stiff, e.g. calcification or soft, e.g. adipose. When performing needle biopsy, too small or scanty samples can be retrieved due to the tissue is mainly compressed instead of being cut. In order to studying the tissue cutting performance in various cutting conditions, tissue-mimicking phantoms are frequently used as a surrogate of human tissue. The advantage of using tissue phantoms is that their mechanical properties can be controlled. The stiffness of a tissue phantom can be measured by an indentation test. Previous studies have demonstrated mathematic models to estimate Young’s moduli of tissue phantoms from force-displacement data with an adjustable coefficient according to the geometry of the indenter.

Tissue force reactions occurred needle insertion has been largely researched [1], but few studies investigated the tissue cutting with a rotational needle, which is a cutting method largely used in the breast needle biopsy. Research has demonstrated that the influence of rotation can significantly reduce the insertion force [2], but the experiment was conducted on a specific formula of silicone-based tissue phantoms.

This paper served as a pilot study of a large-scale experiment to study the effect of rotational cutting on various cutting conditions and target materials, including artificial and biological soft tissues. Two most common types of soft tissue phantoms, biopolymers (gelatin gels and agar) and chemically synthesized polymers (polydimethylsiloxane, PDMS) were investigated. Indentation tests were performed to estimate the mechanical properties of tissue phantoms which were then verified by finite element simulations. Tissue cutting tests with and without rotation were conducted to evaluate the effect of needle rotation on the tissue force reactions.

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