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In-line Multi-Contact Implantable Stimulation Arrays and Method of Making Same

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000011020D
Publication Date: 2003-Feb-06
Document File: 5 page(s) / 16K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A layered electrode construction and a method of layered electrode attachment for an implantable in-line multi-contact electrode array employs thin electrode layers that are successively welded, initially to a desired cable or wire carried in the implantable array, and then subsequently to previously attached layers. The layered attachment method reduces the amount of heat required to perform a successful weld, and thereby also reduces the zone of heating that might otherwise melt or ablate the insulation from neighboring cables or wires, thus reducing the likelihood of creating electrical shorts.

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In-line Multi-Contact Implantable Stimulation Arrays and Method of Making Same

Background and Summary

The present invention relates to implantable leads for use with neural stimulation systems, and more particularly to a method of attaching metallic electrodes to selected ones of the metallic conductors carried inside the lead and insulated with polymer insulation.

A common problem associated with the fabrication of in-line multi-contact implantable leads is the method of attachment of metallic electrodes to metallic conductor cables (e.g., wires) having polymer insulation. At the connection interface between the cable and electrode, it is desirable to have a continuous blend or alloy of electrode and conductor material. This normally involves the melting of the metals using a welding process. Disadvantageously, however, in the proximity of the weld, the polymer insulation for the other conductors may also be melted or ablated as a result of the weld and the heat transfer properties of the electrode and conductor material, resulting in the electrode shorting between electrodes.

What is needed is a method of attaching electrodes to insulated conductors using a welding process that provides a secure mechanical and electrical connection between the electrode and conductor, e.g., a continuous blend or alloy of electrode and conductor material, without causing shorts between electrodes or conductors.

The present invention addresses the above and other needs by providing a layered electrode construction and a method of layered electrode attachment for an implantable in-line multi-contact electrode array.

In accordance with the invention, thin electrode layers are successively welded, initially to a desired cable or wire carried in the lead, and then subsequently to previously attached layers, as the electrode material is built up to a desired thickness. Such layered attachment method advantageously reduces the amount of heat required to perform a successful weld (i.e., a continuous blend of electrode and conductor material), and thereby also reduces the zone of heating that might otherwise melt or ablate the insulation from neighboring cables or wires, thus reducing the likelihood of creating electrical shorts.

Detailed Description

FIG. 1 shows an in-line multi-contact electrode array 10 of the type made with the present invention. The array 10, located at the distal end of an implantable lead 20, includes a plurality of electrode contacts 12 that are spaced apart from each other and electrically insulated from each other. Four electrode contacts 12 are shown in FIG. 1 for simplicity, but it is to be understood that the actual number of electrode contacts 12 included as part of the array 10 may vary from a few, e.g., one or two, to a relatively large number, e.g., eight, twelve, sixteen, twenty, or more. The principles of the invention may be used and applied regardless of the number of electrode contacts 12 that are used.

The implantable lead 20 i...