Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 676–682 | Cite as

Effects of electrode geometry and combination on nerve fibre selectivity in spinal cord stimulation

  • J. Holsheimer
  • J. J. Struijk
  • N. R. Tas
Biomedical Engineering


The differential effects of the geometry of a rostrocaudal array of electrode contacts on dorsal column fibre and dorsal root fibre activation in spinal cord stimulation are analysed theoretically. 3-D models of the mid-cervical and mid-thoracic vertebral areas are 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 large dorsal column and dorsal root fibres. The size and spacing of 2-D rectangular electrode contacts are varied while mono-, bi- and tripolar stimulation are applied. The model predicts that the highest preferential stimulation of dorsal root fibres is obtained in monopolar stimulation with a large cathode, whereas dorsal column fibre preference is highest in tripolar stimulation with small contacts and small contact spacings. Fibre type preference is most sensitive to variations of rostrocaudal contact size and least sensitive to variations of lateral contact size. Dorsal root fibre preference is increased and sensitivity to lead geometry is reduced as the distance from contacts to spinal cord is increased.


Computer modelling Dorsal columns Dorsal roots Electrode combination Electrode geometry Electrical stimulation Selective stimulation Spinal cord stimulation 


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Copyright information

© IFMBE 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Holsheimer
    • 1
  • J. J. Struijk
    • 1
  • N. R. Tas
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Biomedical TechnologyUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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