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The relevance of non-linear skin properties for a transcutaneous electrical stimulation model


T. Keller

International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society Conference, Zao, Japan, vol. 11, pp. 100-2

For the investigation of current flow inside the human body and its influence on nerve activation a transcutaneous electrical stimulation model consisting of a finite element and a nerve model was developed. The skin was modeled as layer with constant thickness and constant resistivity although it is known that the skin changes its resistivity for different current densities in a non-linear fashion. In this paper we investigated if the non-linear skin properties have to be incorporated in the finite element model or if they can be neglected. We performed measurements in healthy volunteers that showed an exponential relation of the skin resistivity with the current density. This is in agreement with earlier publications. Additionally it was found that the skin resistivity not only depends on the current density but also on time because the adaptation is not instantaneous. The influence of the found non-linear resistivities on motor nerve activation was investigated using a finite element model that was connected to a nerve model. The results showed that the non-linear resistivity properties of the skin have not to be included in transcutaneous electrical stimulation models that focus on investigating motor nerve activation. Furthermore, it was found that lower skin resistivity values have to be used in simulations because usually current densities above 0.4 mA/cm2 are used.

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