Acute microelectrode array implantation into human neocortex: preliminary technique and histological considerations

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Object

Researchers at The Center for Neural Interfaces at the University of Utah have designed and produced a silicon-based high-density microelectrode array that has been used successfully in mammalian models. The authors investigate the ability to transfer array insertion techniques to humans and examine the acute response of human cortical tissue to array implantation.

Methods

Six patients who were scheduled to undergo temporal lobectomy surgery were enrolled in an Institutional Review Board–approved protocol. Before the patients underwent lateral temporal cortical resection, one or two high-density microelectrode arrays were implanted in each individual by using a pneumatic insertion device. Cortical tissue was then excised and preserved in formalin. The specimens were sectioned and stained for histological examination.

Pneumatic insertion of a microelectrode array into human cortex in the operating room was feasible. There were no clinical complications associated with implantation and no evidence of significant insertion-related hemorrhage. Tissue responses ranged from mild cortical deformity to small focal hemorrhages several millimeters below the electrode tines. Based on initial results, the insertion device was modified. A footplate that mechanically isolates a small area of cortex and a calibrated micromanipulator were added to improve the reproducibility of insertion.

Conclusions

A high-density microelectrode array designed to function as a direct cortical interface device can be implanted into human cortical tissue without acute clinical complications. Further modifications to the insertion device and array design are ongoing and future work will assess the functional significance of the tissue reactions observed.

Abbreviations used in this paper:PBS = phosphate-buffered saline; SAH = subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Object

Researchers at The Center for Neural Interfaces at the University of Utah have designed and produced a silicon-based high-density microelectrode array that has been used successfully in mammalian models. The authors investigate the ability to transfer array insertion techniques to humans and examine the acute response of human cortical tissue to array implantation.

Methods

Six patients who were scheduled to undergo temporal lobectomy surgery were enrolled in an Institutional Review Board–approved protocol. Before the patients underwent lateral temporal cortical resection, one or two high-density microelectrode arrays were implanted in each individual by using a pneumatic insertion device. Cortical tissue was then excised and preserved in formalin. The specimens were sectioned and stained for histological examination.

Pneumatic insertion of a microelectrode array into human cortex in the operating room was feasible. There were no clinical complications associated with implantation and no evidence of significant insertion-related hemorrhage. Tissue responses ranged from mild cortical deformity to small focal hemorrhages several millimeters below the electrode tines. Based on initial results, the insertion device was modified. A footplate that mechanically isolates a small area of cortex and a calibrated micromanipulator were added to improve the reproducibility of insertion.

Conclusions

A high-density microelectrode array designed to function as a direct cortical interface device can be implanted into human cortical tissue without acute clinical complications. Further modifications to the insertion device and array design are ongoing and future work will assess the functional significance of the tissue reactions observed.

Abbreviations used in this paper:PBS = phosphate-buffered saline; SAH = subarachnoid hemorrhage.

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Contributor Notes

Address reprint requests to: Paul A. House, M.D, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Utah, 30 North 1900 East, Suite 3B-409 SOM, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132–2303. email: paul.house@hsc.utah.edu
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