Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurosci Methods. 2003 May 30;125(1-2):209-14.

Alternating-pulse iontophoresis for targeted cutaneous anesthesia.

Author information

NeuroMuscular Research Center, St. 4th Floor, 19 Deerfield Street, 02215, Boston, MA, USA.
Boston, MA


In studies of sensory contributions to motor control, it may be advantageous to temporarily reduce the sensitivity of specific sensory systems. This article details a method for non-invasively inducing cutaneous anesthesia, leaving proprioceptive and motor functions intact. This method, called alternating-pulse iontophoresis, differs from conventional direct-current (DC) iontophoretic drug delivery in that adjacent drug delivery electrodes are stimulated out-of-phase. The total current delivered at any instant is then less than that produced during a comparable DC application, while the uniformity of drug delivery is expected to improve. Effective delivery of local anesthetics to the cutaneous foot soles by alternating-pulse iontophoresis was demonstrated using cutaneous pressure sensory threshold levels (STL's) assessed with Semmes-Weinstein monofilaments (arbitrary units of perceived force, or a.u.). Thirteen of 16 healthy subjects achieved a level of anesthesia greater than or equal to that normally associated with clinical peripheral sensory neuropathy. Average STL's measured prior to the anesthesia procedure were 4.00 a.u. ( approximately 10 mN). Immediately following the procedure, STL's were elevated to an average of 5.40 a.u. ( approximately 246 mN) and averaged 4.97 a.u. ( approximately 92 mN) after 50 min of standing. A number of research and clinical applications for this technique are suggested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center