Stability and selectivity of a chronic, multi-contact cuff electrode for sensory stimulation in human amputees

J Neural Eng. 2015 Apr;12(2):026002. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/12/2/026002. Epub 2015 Jan 28.


Objective: Stability and selectivity are important when restoring long-term, functional sensory feedback in individuals with limb-loss. Our objective is to demonstrate a chronic, clinical neural stimulation system for providing selective sensory response in two upper-limb amputees.

Approach: Multi-contact cuff electrodes were implanted in the median, ulnar, and radial nerves of the upper-limb.

Main results: Nerve stimulation produced a selective sensory response on 19 of 20 contacts and 16 of 16 contacts in subjects 1 and 2, respectively. Stimulation elicited multiple, distinct percept areas on the phantom and residual limb. Consistent threshold, impedance, and percept areas have demonstrated that the neural interface is stable for the duration of this on-going, chronic study.

Significance: We have achieved selective nerve response from multi-contact cuff electrodes by demonstrating characteristic percept areas and thresholds for each contact. Selective sensory response remains consistent in two upper-limb amputees for 1 and 2 years, the longest multi-contact sensory feedback system to date. Our approach demonstrates selectivity and stability can be achieved through an extraneural interface, which can provide sensory feedback to amputees.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amputees / rehabilitation*
  • Arm / innervation
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiopathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensation*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity