An Implantable System For Chronic In Vivo Electromyography

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


Electromyography (EMG) measures the muscle response to electrical stimulation or spontaneous activity of motor units and plays an important role in assessing neuromuscular function. Chronic recording of EMG activity reflecting a muscle’s reinnervation status after nerve injury has been limited, due to the invasive nature of traditional EMG recording techniques. In this regard, an implantable system is designed for long-term, in vivo EMG recording and nerve stimulation. It has been applied and tested in a study on reinnervation of laryngeal muscles. This system consists of 1) two bipolar electrode nerve cuffs and leads for stimulating each of two nerves: the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) and internal branch of the superior laryngeal nerve (SLN); 2) two EMG recording electrodes and leads for each of the two laryngeal muscles: posterior cricoarytenoid (PCA) muscle and thyroarytenoid-lateral cricoarytenoid (TA-LCA) muscle complex; and 3) a skin receptacle interfacing all implanted lead terminals to an external recording preamplifier and stimulator using a connection cable. The wire leads are Teflon-coated, multi-filament, type 316 stainless steel. They are coiled and can stretch during body movement of the awake animal to prevent lead breakage and electrode migration. This system is implanted during an aseptic surgery. Afterwards, baseline EMG recordings are performed before the RLN is transected in the second surgery to study muscle reinnervation. Throughout the study, multiple physiological sessions are conducted in the anesthetized animal to obtain evoked and spontaneous EMG activity that reflects the reinnervation status of laryngeal muscles. The system is compact, free of infection over the course of the study, and highly durable. This implantable system can provide a reliable platform for research in which long-term recording or nerve stimulation is required in an anesthetized or freely moving animal.