ABSTRACT: The feasibility of an electrical stimulation method selectively for activating skeletal muscles innervated by a common peripheral nerve trunk has been investigated. The method utilises 'snugly' fitting nerve cuffs that incorporate an array of 12 electrodes. These electrodes have been tested as four longitudinally aligned tripoles (located 90 degrees apart on the cuff inner surface). In acute experiments on rabbit sciatic nerves, we have found that tripolar stimulation with this implant system is in general highly selective. 'Field steering,' wherein a subthreshold transverse current is used in combination with a longitudinal tripolar current, tends to increase the selectivity of stimulation. On a rabbit sciatic nerve, a combination of adjacent longitudinal tripoles of the 12 electrode array generally yields a stimulation performance similar to that which would be expected if a 24 electrode array is used. This system may find a use in functional neuromuscular stimulation applications which require highly selective control over multiple muscles.
Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing 06/1995; 33(3 Spec No):418-25. · 1.88 Impact Factor