Evaluation of intradural stimulation efficiency and selectivity in a computational model of spinal cord stimulation.

Journal Article (Clinical Trial;Journal Article)

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is an alternative or adjunct therapy to treat chronic pain, a prevalent and clinically challenging condition. Although SCS has substantial clinical success, the therapy is still prone to failures, including lead breakage, lead migration, and poor pain relief. The goal of this study was to develop a computational model of SCS and use the model to compare activation of neural elements during intradural and extradural electrode placement. We constructed five patient-specific models of SCS. Stimulation thresholds predicted by the model were compared to stimulation thresholds measured intraoperatively, and we used these models to quantify the efficiency and selectivity of intradural and extradural SCS. Intradural placement dramatically increased stimulation efficiency and reduced the power required to stimulate the dorsal columns by more than 90%. Intradural placement also increased selectivity, allowing activation of a greater proportion of dorsal column fibers before spread of activation to dorsal root fibers, as well as more selective activation of individual dermatomes at different lateral deviations from the midline. Further, the results suggest that current electrode designs used for extradural SCS are not optimal for intradural SCS, and a novel azimuthal tripolar design increased stimulation selectivity, even beyond that achieved with an intradural paddle array. Increased stimulation efficiency is expected to increase the battery life of implantable pulse generators, increase the recharge interval of rechargeable implantable pulse generators, and potentially reduce stimulator volume. The greater selectivity of intradural stimulation may improve the success rate of SCS by mitigating the sensitivity of pain relief to malpositioning of the electrode. The outcome of this effort is a better quantitative understanding of how intradural electrode placement can potentially increase the selectivity and efficiency of SCS, which, in turn, provides predictions that can be tested in future clinical studies assessing the potential therapeutic benefits of intradural SCS.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Howell, B; Lad, SP; Grill, WM

Published Date

  • 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 12

Start / End Page

  • e114938 -

PubMed ID

  • 25536035

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4275184

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0114938


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States