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The aim of this study was to investigate theoretically the conditions for the activation of the detrusor muscle without activation of the urethral sphincter and afferent fibers, when stimulating the related sacral roots, Therefore, the sensitivity of excitation and blocking thresholds of nerve fibers within a sacral root to geometric and electrical parameters in tripolar stimulation using a cuff electrode, have been simulated by a computer model. A 3D rotationally symmetrical model, representing the geometry and electrical conductivity of a nerve root surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid and a cuff was used, in combination with a model representing the electrical properties of a myelinated nerve fiber. The electric behavior of nerve fibers having different diameters and positions in a sacral root was analyzed and the optimal geometric and electrical parameters to be used for sacral root stimulation were determined. The model predicts that an asymmetrical tripolar cuff can generate unidirectional action potentials in small nerve fibers. While blocking the large fibers bidirectionally. This result shows that selective activation of the detrusor may be possible without activation of the urethral sphincter and the afferent fibers.
Date of Publication: May 1994