This paper presents a three dimensional Finite Element Model for studying the effect of the specific absorption rate (SAR) distribution of a RF coil on the temperature distribution within a human leg due to the energy deposit. The model consists of fat, muscle, and bone, and has 21,158 uniform elements. The 3-D leg model was derived from the tissue maps that are obtained from the 79 sequential MR images of a volunteer’s leg. The specific absorption rate (SAR) data are from the solution to the fundamental Maxwell’s electromagnetic equations of the leg with RF coil in place using finite difference time domain (FDTD) method. The blood perfusion term, which is a function of the local tissue temperature, along with the metabolic heat as well as the SAR term, are treated as one heat source term in the classical bio-heat transfer equation. A commercial FEA code, ANSYS, was used to solve the 3-D heat conduction equation with an additional iteration method to deal with the temperature dependent source term. The 3-D temperature fields without and with the SAR term were computed, as well as the changes in temperature. They predict that the maximum temperature change occurs in approximately the same location as the maximum local SAR. The map of the temperature change clearly shows how the presence of the RF coil affect the temperature distribution within the leg. With 2 watts absorbed in the leg, about 8.8 w/kg of peak SAR value, the maximum change in temperature of the leg is about 1.74° C.

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