Potential of New Thin Film Electrodes: Less Invasive Solution to Enhance Neurosurgery

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By Dave Rosa

In comparison with the technology advances for other therapeutic areas, such as orthopedics and cardiology, innovations for thin film electrode technology used in neurosurgery have fallen far behind.  Currently, electrodes provide limited resolution and require invasive surgeries for implantation, coupled with the cost and inefficiencies of labor intense manufacturing processes. Furthermore, the silicone base of existing electrode technology does not conform optimally to the brain.  

The good news for neurosurgeons and their patients with neurological conditions, including epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic pain due to failed back surgeries, is that the latest polyimide thin film technologies show promise for providing higher resolution recording for more advanced clinical applications. In theory, this could lead to better care and save money, making it a better choice for patients and payers.

Developers of this innovative technology also anticipate that the replacement of current silicone electrodes with polyimide thin film electrodes for the acquisition of intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG) could provide enhanced clinical electrophysiological value with reduced cost, infection risk and patient discomfort.  

Key Advantages with New Thin Film Electrode Technology 

Thin film strip and grid electrodesmade with polyimide thin film technology are an effective way to increase mechanical flexibility and reduce mass. This is better for the brain because they weigh less than traditional electrodes and conform more completely to the brain to optimize contact. Also, this technology could be scaled to provide high-definition recordings enabling the clinician to be more precise in identifying the problematic tissue. 

Contacts on the electrodes may be scaled down in size, improving the ability to increase resolution, and electrode configurations are customizable to meet physician requests. With an automated manufacturing system, this technology also shows promise for reducing lead times to customers. 

In addition, in pre-clinical studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic, demonstrated a reduction in the brain’s immunological response, which is expected to increase patient comfort and reduce signal artifacts associated with the brain electrode interface. 

A True Thin Film Electrode Platform

The new Evo™ Cortical Electrode (Evo) is designed to record brain activity and stimulate brain tissue for up to 30 days. This platform technology has the potential to provide new solutions for various neurosurgical applications.

Evo is the result of a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Alumni Research Foundation and the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. NeuroOne recently executed an Exclusive Development and Distribution Agreementthat gives Zimmer Biomet exclusive global rights to distribute Evo and is expected to allow this technology to more quickly and efficiently penetrate the market.

As an expansion of NeuroOne’s thin film platform, the stereoelectroencephalography (sEEG) Depth Electrode offers advantages that will include the ability to access deep cortical structures (where Evo Cortical Electrodes are placed on the brain’s surface) and implantation through tiny twist holes instead of a craniotomy. The less invasive implant procedure is expected to lead to fewer complications, less post-operative pain and shorter length of stay in the hospital.

Dave Rosa is President and CEO of NeuroOne Medical Technologies Corporation.

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