Therapeutic electrical stimulation of injured peripheral nerve tissue using implantable thin-film wireless nerve stimulators
Journal of Neurosurgery, Ahead of Print.
OBJECTIVEElectrical stimulation of peripheral nerve tissue has been shown to accelerate axonal regeneration. Yet existing methods of applying electrical stimulation to injured peripheral nerves have presented significant barriers to clinical translation. In this study, the authors examined the use of a novel implantable wireless nerve stimulator capable of simultaneously delivering therapeutic electrical stimulation of injured peripheral nerve tissue and providing postoperative serial assessment of functional recovery.METHODSFlexible wireless stimulators were fabricated and implanted into Lewis rats. Thin-film implants were used to deliver brief electrical stimulation (1 hour, 20 Hz) to sciatic nerves after nerve crush or nerve transection-and-repair injuries.RESULTSElectrical stimulation of injured nerves via implanted wireless stimulators significantly improved functional recovery. Brief electrical stimulation was observed to increase the rate of functional recovery after both nerve crush and nerve transection-and-repair injuries. Wireless stimulators successfully facilitated therapeutic stimulation of peripheral nerve tissue and serial assessment of nerve recovery.CONCLUSIONSImplantable wireless stimulators can deliver therapeutic electrical stimulation to injured peripheral nerve tissue. Implantable wireless nerve stimulators might represent a novel means of facilitating therapeutic electrical stimulation in both intraoperative and postoperative settings.