Modeling for radio-frequency conductive keratoplasty: implications for the maximum temperature reached in the cornea

Physiol Meas. 2005 Jun;26(3):157-72. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/26/3/002. Epub 2005 Feb 9.


Conductive keratoplasty (CK) is a new surgical technique for steepening the contours of the cornea to reduce hyperopia. It has been emphasized that during CK, tissue resistance to radio-frequency electrical current flow generates a localized heat with temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees C; however, we hypothesize that the maximum temperature reached in the cornea may be higher. For this reason, we developed a finite-element model to estimate the temperature distributions in the cornea during CK. The time evolution of the impedance obtained from computer simulations was compared to that obtained in an experimental study previously published. Our results show that during a typical CK with a 60% setting power (equivalent to 200 V peak-to-peak), the cornea may reach temperatures over 100 degrees C at the electrode tip. On the other hand, the initial impedance of the cornea has a significant influence on the temperature distribution, while the initial temperature of the cornea is not a significant parameter. The results also suggest that low power settings (30-40%) do not produce temperatures over 100 degrees C. Finally, although the actual voltage waveform during CK is exponential and pulsed, our model based on a constant voltage (with a value equal to the root mean square value) provides a better agreement between the theoretical impedance time evolution and that obtained experimentally.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature / physiology*
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cornea / physiopathology*
  • Cornea / surgery*
  • Corneal Transplantation / methods*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Thermography / methods
  • Treatment Outcome