Minimally Invasive Surgery and Interventional Techniques
Department of Biomechanical Engineering - Delft University of Technology
Prof.dr. Jenny Dankelman
Developing a breast phantom to evaluate tumour margins assessment techniques
07 July 2020

MSc Project: Developing a breast phantom to assess different tumour margin assessment techniques during breast cancer surgery


During breast-conserving surgery, the surgeon tries to completely remove the tumour while maintaining the natural shape of the breast as much as possible. Lack of direct feedback over the surgical site may lead to incomplete resection of the tumour and incidence of positive margin meaning that some parts of the tumour remain in the breast of the patient after surgery. Using an intraoperative margin assessment technique during breast-conserving surgery (BCS) helps surgeons to decrease the risk of positive margin occurrence. Diffused reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) is a promising technique for discriminating breast tumour tissue from healthy tissue based on the special intrinsic light absorption and scattering of each tissue known as “optical fingerprint”. 

Recently, we developed a breast phantom to assess the application of the DRS in combination with an electrosurgical knife. The produced phantom has similar optical properties as breast tissue and meanwhile simulates the overall shape of the real breast which makes it suitable for DRS measurements and electrosurgery.

To continue our work, in collaboration with Philips, we want to improve the phantom to make it usable for assessing the different types of margin assessment techniques simultaneously, such as DRS and electrical impedance tomography. The project begins with a literature review over the currently available breast phantoms and will continue to finding the right composition of the materials to simulate different properties of the real breast tissue. Eventually, a breast phantom will be made to simulate different properties of the woman breast in its real shape using 3D-printed moulds, and the application of it for the intended techniques will be investigated in collaboration with Philips and medical centre.


If you are interested you can contact Prof. dr. Jenny Dankelman or Sara Azizian Amiri ( The project will start as soon as we find the right candidate.



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