Mechanical characterization of porcine liver properties for computational simulation of indentation on cancerous tissue

Yingqiao Yang, Kewei Li, Gerhard Sommer, Kai-Leung Yung, Gerhard A Holzapfel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An accurate characterization of soft biological tissue properties is essential for a realistic simulation of surgical procedures. Unconfined uniaxial compression tests with specimens affixed to the fixtures are often performed to characterize the stress-stretch curves of soft biological tissues, with which the material parameters can be obtained. However, the constrained boundary condition causes non-uniform deformation during the uniaxial test, posing challenges for accurate measurement of tissue deformation. In this study, we measured the deformation locally at the middle of liver specimens and obtained the corresponding stress-stretch curves. Since the effect of the constrained boundary condition on the local deformation of specimen is minimized, the stress-stretch curves are thus more realistic. Subsequently, we fitted the experimental stress-stretch curves with several constitutive models and found that the first-order Ogden hyperelastic material model was most suitable for characterizing the mechanical properties of porcine liver tissues. To further verify the characterized material properties, we carried out indentation tests on porcine liver specimens and compared the experimental data with computational results by using finite element simulations. A good agreement was achieved. Finally, we constructed computational models of liver tissue with a tumor and investigated the effect of the tumor on the mechanical response of the tissue under indentation. The computational results revealed that the liver specimen with tumor shows a stiffer response if the distance between the tumor and the indenter is small.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-490
Number of pages22
JournalMathematical Medicine and Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • cancer tissue detection
  • finite element modeling
  • mechanical characterization
  • porcine liver
  • surgical indentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology
  • Modelling and Simulation

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