Improved method for cannula fixation for long-term intracerebral brain infusion

J Neurosci Methods. 2017 Oct 1:290:145-150. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2017.07.026. Epub 2017 Jul 25.


Background: Implanted osmotic minipumps are commonly used for long-term, brain-targeted delivery of a wide range of experimental agents by being connected to a catheter and a cannula. During the stereotactical surgery procedure, the cannula has to be placed correctly in the x-y directions and also with respect to the injection point in the z-direction (deepness). However, the flat fixation base of available cannula holders doesn't allow an easy, secure fixation onto the curve-shaped skull.

New method: We have developed a modified method for a better fixation of the cannula holder by using an easy-to-produce, skull-shaped silicone spacer as fixation adapter.

Results: We describe the application and its fast and reliable production in the lab.

Comparison with existing method(s): Superglue or cement is currently being used as the method of choice. However, the curve-shaped skull surface does not fit well with the flat and rigid cannula adapter which leads to fixation problems over time causing wide infusion channels and often also to leakage problems from intracerebrally applied agents towards the surface meninges. As another consequence of the inappropriate fixation, the cannula may loosen from the skull before the end of the experiment or it causes damage to the brain tissue, harming the animals with leading to a failure of the whole experiment.

Conclusions: The easy-to-produce spacer facilitates the crucial step of long-term, stereotactic brain infusion experiments with intracerebral catheters in a highly secure and reproducible way.

Keywords: Brain infusion; Cannula fixation; Mouse model; Osmotic pump; Silicone; Stereotactic operation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cannula*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / instrumentation*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Infusion Pumps, Implantable*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Silicones
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Silicones