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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Functional and Histological Effects of Chronic Neural Electrode Implantation.

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Permanent injury to the cranial nerves can often result in a substantial reduction in quality of life. Novel and innovative interventions can help restore form and function in nerve paralysis, with bioelectric interfaces among the more promising of these approaches. The foreign body response is an important consideration for any bioelectric device as it influences the function and effectiveness of the implant. The purpose of this review is to describe tissue and functional effects of chronic neural implantation among the different categories of neural implants and highlight advances in peripheral and cranial nerve stimulation.Data Sources: PubMed, IEEE, and Web of Science literature search.Review Methods: A review of the current literature was conducted to examine functional and histologic effects of bioelectric interfaces for neural implants.

Bioelectric devices can be characterized as intraneural, epineural, perineural, intranuclear, or cortical depending on their placement relative to nerves and neuronal cell bodies. Such devices include nerve-specific stimulators, neuroprosthetics, brainstem implants, and deep brain stimulators. Regardless of electrode location and interface type, acute and chronic histological, macroscopic and functional changes can occur as a result of both passive and active tissue responses to the bioelectric implant.

A variety of chronically implantable electrodes have been developed to treat disorders of the peripheral and cranial nerves, to varying degrees of efficacy. Consideration and mitigation of detrimental effects at the neural interface with further optimization of functional nerve stimulation will facilitate the development of these technologies and translation to the clinic.


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