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Direct and nondirect nerve stimulation modes of the thoraco-dorsal nerve leading to the latissimus dorsi muscle (LDM) were evaluated by using nerve cuff electrodes (NCEs) and intramuscular electrodes (IMEs), respectively. Following electrode implantation, the LDM was chronically stimulated for two months to induce muscle transformation to oxidative, fatigue-resistant type I muscle fibers. Threshold and impedance values were measured regularly to establish the stability of the implants. The LDM was then dissected, shaped into a ventricle, subjected to a hydraulic load and stimulated using a controlled-voltage pulse-train stimulator with adjustable parameters. Electrical input and hydraulic output variables were measured to obtain the recruitment characteristics and to compare the efficiencies of the two types of electrodes. Results indicate a tradeoff between the NCE's lower threshold, higher recruitment, and lower energy consumption at saturation, and the IME's greater mechanical stability and better long-term reproducibility.