Triple leads programmed to perform as longitudinal guarded cathodes in spinal cord stimulation: A modeling study

V. Sankarasubramanian, Jan R. Buitenweg, J. Holsheimer, Petrus H. Veltink

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    Objective: In spinal cord stimulation, neurosurgeons increasingly tend to implant dual leads. Dual leads (longitudinal bipole/tripole) provide medio-lateral control over the recruited dorsal column (DC) area by steering the injected cathodal currents. However, the DC recruited area is suboptimal when dual aligned leads straddling the midline programmed as longitudinal guarded cathodes (+-+) are used instead of a single lead placed over the spinal cord midline with the same configuration. As a potential improvement, an additional third lead between the two aligned leads is modeled to maximize the medio-lateral extent of the DCs at the low-thoracic vertebral region (T10-T12). Methods and Materials: The University of Twente Spinal Cord Stimulation software (UT-SCS) is used in this modeling study. Longitudinal guarded cathodes were modeled on the low-thoracic vertebral region (T10-T12) using percutaneous triple lead configurations. The central lead was modeled over the spinal cord midline and the two lateral leads were modeled at several transverse distances to the midline lead. Medio-lateral field steering was performed with the midline lead and the second lead on each side to achieve constant anodal current ratios and variable anodal current ratios. Results: Reducing the transverse lead separation resulted in increasing the depths and widths of the recruited DC area. The triple lead configuration with the least transverse separation had the largest DC recruited area and usage range. The maximum DC recruited area (in terms of both depth and width) was always found to be larger under variable anodal current ratio than constant anodal current ratio conditions. Conclusions: Triple leads programmed to perform as longitudinal guarded cathodes provide more postoperative flexibility than single and dual leads in covering a larger width of the low-thoracic DCs. The transverse separation between the leads is a major determinant of the area and distribution of paresthesia
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)401-411
    Number of pages11
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


    • EWI-21395
    • BSS-Neurotechnology and cellular engineering
    • Spinal cord stimulation
    • Paresthesia
    • Constant anodal current ratio
    • variable anodal current ratio
    • guarded cathodes
    • METIS-285067
    • IR-79534
    • low-thoracic

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