In the world of biomedicine, simulation is a powerful tool that can help engineers develop innovative devices with greater speed and cost efficiency. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating details of how simulation technology is driving innovation in biomedical engineering.
Ensure patient safety
There are many benefits to using simulation in biomedical development, but the primary motivator? The patients. Using simulation, engineers can design better and safer devices and treatment approaches for patients and determine which methods are safest for patients.
A simulation of heat generated during a tumour ablation (left) and drug concentration in the human body over time (right).
Simulation can also help to determine if a treatment or device is causing unintended damage to a patient. Engineers can simulate interactions between energy and body tissue to determine whether devices like pacemakers and defibrillators are going to harm the patient during operation – in effect, doing more harm than good.
Accelerate product development
In addition to the primary goal of patient wellbeing, simulation also helps cut down on the amount of preclinical testing that needs to be done during the prototyping, development and approval stages of a medical product’s life cycle, bringing products to market faster.
A model of a biomedical stent (left) and pacemaker electrode (right).
Simulation can speed up the development of medical devices and processes across disciplines, including:
- Coronary stents;
- Heart valves;
- Nitinol cardio stents;
- Occluder devices;
- Spinal cord stimulation;
- RF ablation devices;
- And many more.
To save costs during development, simulation can be brought in to do some of the heavy lifting usually done by costly experimental testing and clinical trials which could even lead to less costly treatments for patients.
Let’s take a bird’s eye view of biomedical development: Simulation and experiments, when brought together, can help biomedical engineers fully understand how a device or process works. Examples include using simulation to understand:
A parametric optomechanical model of the human eye can be used to understand eye disorders and aging. Image courtesy Kejako from the story '3D Parametric Full Eye Model Gives 20 Years of Better Vision'.
Besides being able to fully understand the devices and processes that already exist in the field of biomedicine, engineers can also use simulation for the innovation of completely new medtech products.
“Simulation can be used in an exploratory capacity to develop new devices not thought possible,” said Carlos Corrales of Baxter International, Inc. He described how engineers can bring in simulation very early in the design process in order to determine if it’s even possible to think about something as a product.
This is a shortened version of an original blog, if you’d like to read the full version that discusses how this conversation gains attention, the steps for seeking regulatory approval and how to train the next generation of biomedical engineers, you can do so here: https://www.comsol.com/blogs/the-growing-use-of-simulation-in-the-biomedical-industry