Multi-Electrode Array for Transcutaneous Lumbar Posterior Root Stimulation
Krenn M, Hofstoetter US, Danner SM, Minassian K, Mayr W
Interest in transcutaneous electrical stimulation of the lumbosacral spinal cord is increasing in human electrophysiological and clinical studies. The stimulation effects on lower limb muscles depend on the depolarization of segmentally organized posterior root afferents and, thus, the rostro-caudal stimulation site. In previous studies, selective stimulation was achieved by varying the positions of single self-adhesive electrodes over the thoracolumbar spine. Here, we developed a multi-electrode surface array consisting of 3 × 8 electrode pads and tested its stimulation-site specificity. The array was placed longitudinally over the spine covering the T10-L2 vertebrae. Two different hydrogel layer configurations were utilized: a single layer adhered to all electrode pads of the array and a configuration comprised of eight separate strips attached to the three transverse electrode pads of each level. Voltage measurements demonstrated that an effectively focused field distribution along the longitudinal extent of the array was not accomplished when using the single continuous hydrogel layer, and segmental selective stimulation of the posterior root afferents was not possible. The separate strips produced a focused electric field distribution at the rostro-caudal level of the electrode pads selected for stimulation. This configuration allowed for the preferential elicitation of posterior root-muscle reflexes in either the L2-L4 innervated quadriceps or the L5-S2 innervated triceps surae muscle groups. Such multi-electrode array for transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation shall allow for improved control of stimulationconditions in electrophysiological studies and time-dependent and site-specific stimulation patterns for neuromodulation applications.