Probabilistic modeling of selective stimulation of the human sciatic nerve with a flat interface nerve electrode

J Comput Neurosci. 2012 Aug;33(1):179-90. doi: 10.1007/s10827-011-0381-5. Epub 2012 Jan 6.


Ankle control is critical to both standing balance and efficient walking. The hypothesis presented in this paper is that a Flat Interface Nerve Electrode (FINE) placed around the sciatic nerve with a fixed number of contacts at predetermined locations and without a priori knowledge of the nerve's underlying neuroanatomy can selectively control each ankle motion. Models of the human sciatic nerve surrounded by a FINE of varying size were created and used to calculate the probability of selective activation of axons within any arbitrarily designated, contiguous group of fascicles. Simulations support the hypothesis and suggest that currently available implantable technology cannot selectively recruit each target plantar flexor individually but can restore plantar flexion or dorsiflexion from a site on the sciatic nerve without spillover to antagonists. Successful activation of individual ankle muscles in 90% of the population can be achieved by utilizing bipolar stimulation and/or by using a cuff with at least 20 contacts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ankle Joint / physiology
  • Axons / physiology
  • Biophysics
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrodes
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Movement / physiology
  • Probability*
  • Recruitment, Neurophysiological / physiology*
  • Sciatic Nerve / cytology
  • Sciatic Nerve / physiology*