Morphological and chemical analysis of a deep brain stimulation electrode explanted from a dystonic patient

Carlo Marras, Michele Rizzi, Luca Ravagnan, Alessandro De Benedictis, Giovanna Zorzi, Gero Bongiorno, Davide Marchesi, Giuseppe Messina, Roberto Cordella, Angelo Franzini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Deep brain stimulation is an effective treatment for different types of dystonia; nevertheless dystonic movements could provoke hardware-related complications, including fractures or electrodes displacement. This study focuses on a morphological and structural analysis of a malfunctioning electrode removed from a dystonic patient. In this case, high impedance values and worsening of symptoms were observed. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) were performed on the explanted electrode. The qualitative and quantitative data collected from the damaged electrode were compared with a new electrode, used as a control. The SEM analysis of the damaged electrode revealed fissurations and crack-like forms of the outer jacket tubing, degeneration of the internal core and wires stretching. The EDX analysis permitted to appreciate an increase of chemical elements, especially sodium, suggesting an alteration of the electrode-brain interface. This study shows the qualitative and quantitative alterations of a malfunctioning electrode and, to reduce the rate of hardware-related complications, it suggests the development of more reliable polymers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1425-1431
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


  • DBS
  • Dystonia
  • EDX
  • Explanted electrode
  • SEM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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