Despite extensive efforts to enhance catheter navigation, limited research has been done to visualize and monitor the tissue lesions created during ablation in the attempt to provide feedback for effective therapy. We propose a technique to visualize the temperature distribution and extent of induced tissue injury via an image-based model that uses physiological tissue parameters and relies on heat transfer principles to characterize lesion progression in near real time. The model was evaluated both numerically and experimentally using ex vivo bovine muscle samples while emulating a clinically relevant ablation protocol. Results show agreement to within 5°C between the model-predicted and experimentally measured end-ablation tissue temperatures, as well as comparable predicted and observed lesion characteristics. The model yields temperature and lesion updates in near real-time, thus providing reasonably accurate and sufficiently fast monitoring for effective therapy.