In vivo interactions between tungsten microneedles and peripheral nerves

Med Eng Phys. 2012 Jul;34(6):747-55. doi: 10.1016/j.medengphy.2011.09.019. Epub 2011 Oct 13.


Tungsten microneedles are currently used to insert neural electrodes into living peripheral nerves. However, the biomechanics underlying these procedures is not yet well characterized. For this reason, the aim of this work was to model the interactions between these microneedles and living peripheral nerves. A simple mathematical framework was especially provided to model both compression of the external layer of the nerve (epineurium) and the interactions resulting from penetration of the main shaft of the microneedle inside the living nerves. The instantaneous Young's modulus, compression force, the work needed to pierce the tissue, puncturing pressure, and the dynamic friction coefficient between the tungsten microneedles and living nerves were quantified starting from acute experiments, aiming to reproduce the physical environment of real implantations. Indeed, a better knowledge of the interactions between microneedles and peripheral nerves may be useful to improve the effectiveness of these insertion techniques, and could represent a key factor for designing robot-assisted procedures tailored for peripheral nerve insertion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Friction
  • Mechanical Phenomena*
  • Models, Biological
  • Needles*
  • Peripheral Nerves*
  • Pressure
  • Swine
  • Tungsten*


  • Tungsten