Transverse tripolar stimulation of peripheral nerve: A modelling study of spatial selectivity

K.E.I. Deurloo, J. Holsheimer, H.B.K. Boom

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Various anode-cathode configurations in a nerve cuff are modelled to predict their spatial selectivity characteristics for functional nerve stimulation. A 3D volume conductor model of a monofascicular nerve is used for the computation of stimulation-induced field potentials, whereas a cable model of myelinated nerve fibre is used for the calculation of the excitation thresholds of fibres. As well as the usual configurations (monopole, bipole, longitudinal tripole, ‘steering’ anode), a transverse tripolar configuration (central cathode) is examined. It is found that the transverse tripole is the only configuration giving convex recruitment contours and therefore maximises activation selectivity for a small (cylindrical) bundle of fibres in the periphery of a monofascicular nerve trunk. As the electrode configuration is changed to achieve greater selectivity, the threshold current increases. Therefore threshold currents for fibre excitation with a transverse tripole are relatively high. Inverse recruitment is less extreme than for the other configurations. The influences of several geometrical parameters and model conductivities of the transverse tripole on selectivity and threshold current are analysed. In chronic implantation, when electrodes are encapsulated by a layer of fibrous tissue, threshold currents are low, whereas the shape of the recruitment contours in transverse tripolar stimulation does not change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalMedical & biological engineering & computing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Nerve cuff electrode
  • Computer modelling
  • Peripheral nerve
  • Electrical nerve stimulation
  • Spatial selectivity
  • Transverse tripolar stimulation


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