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, 35 (5), 493-7

Optimum Electrode Geometry for Spinal Cord Stimulation: The Narrow Bipole and Tripole

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Optimum Electrode Geometry for Spinal Cord Stimulation: The Narrow Bipole and Tripole

J Holsheimer et al. Med Biol Eng Comput.

Abstract

A computer model is used to calculate the optimum geometry of an epidural electrode, consisting of a longitudinal contact array, for spinal cord stimulation in the management of chronic, intractable pain. 3D models of the spinal area are used for the computation of stimulation induced fields, and a cable model of myelinated nerve fibre is used for the calculation of the threshold stimulus to excite large dorsal column and dorsal root fibres. The criteria for the geometry of the longitudinal contact array are: a low threshold for the stimulation of dorsal column fibres compared with dorsal root fibres; and a low stimulation voltage (and current). For both percutaneous and laminectomy electrodes, the contact length should be approximately 1.5 mm, and the optimum contact separation, as determined by the computer model, is 2-2.5 mm. The contacts for a laminectomy electrode should be approximately 4 mm wide. This electrode geometry is applicable to all spinal levels where the dorsal columns can be stimulated (C1-2 down to L1). The stimulating electrode should preferably be used as a tripole with one (central) cathode.

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