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J Neural Eng. 2006 Sep;3(3):196-207. Epub 2006 Jun 21.

Effects of insertion conditions on tissue strain and vascular damage during neuroprosthetic device insertion.

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  • 1Laboratory of Nervous System Disorders, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY 12201-0509, USA.


Long-term integration of neuroprosthetic devices is challenged by reactive responses that compromise the brain-device interface. The contribution of physical insertion parameters to immediate damage is not well described. We have developed an ex vivo preparation to capture real-time images of tissue deformation during device insertion using thick tissue slices from rat brains prepared with fluorescently labeled vasculature. Qualitative and quantitative assessments of damage were made for insertions using devices with different tip shapes inserted at different speeds. Direct damage to the vasculature included severing, rupturing and dragging, and was often observed several hundred micrometers from the insertion site. Slower insertions generally resulted in more vascular damage. Cortical surface features greatly affected insertion success; insertions attempted through pial blood vessels resulted in severe tissue compression. Automated image analysis techniques were developed to quantify tissue deformation and calculate mean effective strain. Quantitative measures demonstrated that, within the range of experimental conditions studied, faster insertion of sharp devices resulted in lower mean effective strain. Variability within each insertion condition indicates that multiple biological factors may influence insertion success. Multiple biological factors may contribute to tissue distortion, thus a wide variability was observed among insertions made under the same conditions.

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