Stimulation Leads with Radial and Longitudinal Steerability
Publication Date: 2003-Jan-09
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Implantable leads with multiple electrodes distributed along the lead length allow radial and longitudinal steering of stimulation fields. Embodiments of the present invention include employing an even number of electrodes, divided evenly and disposed in offset “ring collections” along the axial length of the array and configurations of electrodes that are not necessarily evenly divided or disposed in “ring” collections. The electrodes can be individually programmed in various configurations to steer the field radially around the array as well as longitudinally along the array. Use of many electrodes that are independent allows the electric field to be very wide (e.g., using multiple grouped cathodes and anodes) or very narrow (e.g., using single, even adjacent, electrodes for one cathode and one anode). The electrode array design may even be used to mimic present banded electrode designs while still allowing the more focal stimulation created by pairing individual electrodes. Such “steering” capability allows the electric field to be located more precisely to the targeted neurons, while minimizing the thresholds needed to capture the desired neural targets and minimizing unwanted stimulation. Also, if the lead happens to rotate and/or migrate, the electric field can be reprogrammed without having to physically manipulate the lead.