Vacuum-assisted biopsy (VAB) is a widely used technology to sample lesion tissue for breast cancer diagnosis. The technology is designed to retrieve tougher and larger breast tissue samples.

The majority of VAB tools utilize a so-called rotational cutting method, in which the cutting needle simultaneously rotates and translates to produce both tangential and normal forces at the cutting surface of the tissue. The introduction of the tangential force can significantly reduce the cutting force measured in the axial direction. As a result, higher quality of tissue samples can be obtained as the samples are less deformed while being removed. The slice-push ratio, i.e. the ratio of the speed component parallel to the cutting edge to the speed component perpendicular to the cutting edge, was previously found to be the most important factor to influence the cutting force [1]. However, these studies only investigated the cases in low translational cutting speeds in a small-scale experiment.

In this paper, we present a finite element (FE) model based on surface-based cohesive behavior, which simulates the rotational cutting method used in VAB to predict the progressive damage and the cutting force of soft tissue phantoms. The model is validated using the experimental data provided in the previous study [1]. The validated model will allow us to explore more cutting conditions, such as higher translational speeds, larger range of slice-push ratio, and tissue properties. The model can also be used to optimize design parameters of current VAB needles and to evaluate new VAB needle designs.

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