Cortical Stimulation

Cortical stimulation is an emerging treatment option for a variety of neurological disorders. In contrast to deep brain stimulation where electrodes are implanted deep in the brain, cortical stimulation uses electrodes that are placed on the surface of the brain. Cortical stimulation is currently being investigated as a treatment option for patients with medically refractory epilepsy, neuropathic pain disorders, movement disorders, and psychiatric disorders such as depression. It is also being investigated to assist with recovery in patients who have injured brain regions due to stroke or traumatic brain injury. Motor cortex stimulation is a specific type of cortical stimulation in which the cortex is stimulated in the area that controls movement of face and extremities.

Researchers have used transcranial stimulation using a probe outside the skull to temporarily change brain activity for many years. These minimally invasive technologies allow for research into potential targets for long-term cortical stimulation. However, transcranial stimulation is limited by the large apparatus and the need for frequent application of the therapy for persistent benefit. Long-term cortical stimulation can be more efficiently accomplished using permanent implantation of electrodes on the brain surface. Similar to many other neuromodulation techniques, this requires implantation of an electrode as well as an implantable pulse generator (IPG). After implantation, the IPG can be programmed to help optimize a patient’s response to cortical stimulation.

Motor cortex stimulation has been used for multiple conditions for a number of years. However, cortical stimulation in other areas for other indications is a relatively new technique that is still undergoing investigation. 


Submitted Oct.. 3, 2016
Thomas Ostergard, MD
Department of Neurological Surgery, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Jonathan P. Miller, MD
Member, International Neuromodulation Society Public Education Committee
Department of Neurological Surgery, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Last Updated on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 11:53 AM