Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30308
Bio-Heat Transfer in Various Transcutaneous Stimulation Models

Authors: Isaac Cassar, Yi-Kai Lo, Wentai Liu, Trevor E. Davis


This study models the use of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation on skin with a disk electrode in order to simulate tissue damage. The current density distribution above a disk electrode is known to be a dynamic and non-uniform quantity that is intensified at the edges of the disk. The non-uniformity is subject to change through using various electrode geometries or stimulation methods. One of these methods known as edge-retarded stimulation has shown to reduce this edge enhancement. Though progress has been made in modeling the behavior of a disk electrode, little has been done to test the validity of these models in simulating the actual heat transfer from the electrode. This simulation uses finite element software to couple the injection of current from a disk electrode to heat transfer described by the Pennesbioheat transfer equation. An example application of this model is studying an experimental form of stimulation, known as edge-retarded stimulation. The edge-retarded stimulation method will reduce the current density at the edges of the electrode. It is hypothesized that reducing the current density edge enhancement effect will, in turn, reduce temperature change and tissue damage at the edges of these electrodes. This study tests this hypothesis as a demonstration of the capabilities of this model. The edge-retarded stimulation proved to be safer after this simulation. It is shown that temperature change and the fraction of tissue necrosis is much greater in the square wave stimulation. These results bring implications for changes of procedures in transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation as well.

Keywords: Electrode, Neuroprosthetics, bioheat transfer, TENS, transcutaneous stimulation

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1804


[1] T. Watson, Electrotherapy: evidence-based practice. 12th ed., Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2008.
[2] D. M.Walsh,TENS: clinical applications and related theory. Churchill Livingstone. 1997.
[3] I. Jones, &M. I. Johnson, Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.Continuing Education in Anaesthesia, Critical Care & Pain, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 130-135, June 2009.
[4] S. M. Danner, U. S. Hofstoetter, J. Ladenbauer, F. Rattay, K. Minassian. Can the human lumbar posterior columns be stimulated by transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation? A modeling study. Artificial organs, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 257-262. 2011.
[5] A. J. Fong, R. R. Roy, R. M. Ichiyama, I. Lavrov, G. Courtine, Y. Gerasimenko,V. R. Edgerton. Recovery of control of posture and locomotion after a spinal cord injury: solutions staring us in the face. Progress in brain research,vol.175, pp. 393-418. 2009.
[6] J. D. Wiley and J. G. Webster, "Analysis and control of the current distribution under circular dispersive electrodes,” IEEE Trans. Biomed.Eng., vol. BME-29, pp. 381–389, 1982.
[7] J. T. Rubinstein, F. A. Spelman, M. Soma, and M. F. Suesserman, "Current density profiles of surface mounted and recessed electrodes for neural prostheses,” IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng., vol. 34, pp. 864– 875,1987.
[8] J. Newman, "Resistance for flow of current to a disk”, J. Electrochem. Soc., vol. 113, 1966, pp. 501–2.
[9] J. Newman. "Frequency Dispersion in Capacity Measurements at a Disk Electrode”, J. Electrochem. Soc., vol. 117, 1970, pp. 198
[10] J. Newman. "The Transient Response of a Disk Electrode”, J.Electrochem., Soc., vol. 120, 1973, pp. 1339
[11] K. B. Oldham, "The RC time constant at a disk electrode,”Electrochem. Commun., vol. 6, 2004, pp. 210–214.
[12] J. C. Myland and K. B. Oldham, "How does the double layer at a disk electrode charge?”, J. Electroanalyt. Chem., vol. 575, 2005, pp. 81–93.
[13] B. Wang and J. D. Weiland, "Reduction of current density at disk electrode periphery by shaping current pulse edges,” in Proc. 34th Annu. Int. Conf.IEEE Eng. Med. Biol. Soc., pp. 5138–5141. 2012.
[14] M. R. Behrend , A. K. Ahuja and J. D. Weiland"Dynamic current density of the disk electrode double-layer",IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng.,vol. 55,no. 3,pp.1056 -1062, 2008
[15] A. Datta, M. Elwassif, M.Bikson. Bio-heat transfer model oftranscranial DC stimulation: comparison of conventional pad versus ring electrode. 31st Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference. 670-673, 2009.
[16] J. T. Rubinstein , F. A. Spelman , M. Soma and M. F. Suesserman"Current density profiles of surface mounted and recessed electrodes for neural prostheses",IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng.,vol. BME- 34,no. 11,pp.864 -875 1987
[17] A. Zolfaghari, M. Maerefat, "A new simplified thermoregulatory bioheat model for evaluating thermal response of the human body to transient environments.” Build Environ, vol. 45, no. 10, pp. 2068–2076, 2010.
[18] C.Gabriel, S. Gabriel, E.Corthout, "The dielectric properties of biological tissues: I. Literature survey,” Phys. Med. Biol. Vol. 41, pp. 2231-2249. 1996.
[19] S.Gabriel, R.W. Lau, C. Gabriel, "The dielectric properties of biological tissues: II. Measurements in the frequency range 10 Hz to 20 GHz,” Phys. Med. Biol. Vol. 41, pp. 2251-2269. 1996
[20] S.Gabriel, R.W. Lau, C.Gabriel, "The dielectric properties of biological tissues: III. Parametric models for the dielectric spectrum of tissues,” Phys. Med. Biol. Vol. 41, pp. 2271-2293. 1996
[21] K. R. Diller, J. A. Pearce,"Issues in modeling thermal alterations in tissues,” NY Acad. Sci. vol. 888, pp. 153–164, 1999
[22] N.T. Wright, "On a relationship between the Arrhenius parametersfrom thermal damage studies,” J. Biomech. Eng. Vol. 125, pp. 300–304, 2003