Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 23–33 | Cite as

Electrical properties of implant encapsulation tissue

  • Warren M. Grill
  • J. Thomas Mortimer


The purpose of this study was to determine the electrical properties of the encapsulation tissue that surrounds electrodes chronically implanted in the body. Two four-electrode arrays, fabricated from either epoxy or silicone rubber, were implanted in each of six adult cats for 82 to 156 days.In vivo measurements of tissue resistivity using the four-electrode technique indicated that formation of the encapsulation tissue resulted in a significant increase in the resistivity of the tissue around the arrays.In vitro measurements of tissue impedance using a four-electrode cell indicated that the resistivity of the encapsulation tissue was a function of the tissue morphology. The tight layers of fibroblasts and collagen that formed around the silicone rubber arrays had a resistivity of 627±108 Ω-cm (mean ± SD; n=6), which was independent of frequency from 10 Hz to 100 kHz, and was significantly larger than the resistivity of the epoxy encapsulation tissue at all frequencies between 20 Hz and 100 kHz. The combination of macrophages, foreign body giant cells, loose collagen, and fibroblasts that formed around the epoxy arrays had a frequency-dependent resistivity that decreased from 454±123 Ω-cm (n=5) to 193±98 Ω-cm between 10 Hz and 1 kHz, and was independent of frequency between 1 kHz and 100 kHz, with a mean value of 195 ±88 Ω-cm. The results indicate that the resistivity of the encapsulation tissue is sufficient to alter the shape and magnitude of the electric field generated by chronically implanted electrodes.


Electrical impedance Resistivity Conductivity Electrodes Neural prostheses 



apparent resistivity of tissue around arrays measuredin vivo


magnitude of the voltage response measured between the inner pair of electrodes on an array


magnitude of the current applied between the outer pair of electrodes on an array


interelectrode spacing on the array


sinusoidal frequency


resistivity of encapsulation tissue measuredin vitro


voltage response measured with tissue in the cell


offset voltage response measured without tissue in the cell


cross-sectional area of the interior of the four-electrode cell


current applied between the outer pair of electrodes in the cell


thickness of tissue samples measured from fixed and stained samples


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Warren M. Grill
    • 1
  • J. Thomas Mortimer
    • 1
  1. 1.Applied Neural Control Laboratory, Department of Biomedical EngineeringCase Western Reserve UniversityCleveland

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