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Proceedings Article

Optical stimulation of the facial nerve: a surgical tool?

[+] Author Affiliations
Claus-Peter Richter

Northwestern Univ. and The Hugh Knowles Ctr., Northwestern Univ.

Ingo Ulrik Teudt

Northwestern Univ. and Univ. Hamburg-Eppendorf (Germany)

Adam E. Nevel, Agnella D. Izzo, Joseph T. Walsh, Jr.

Northwestern Univ.

Proc. SPIE 6842, Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics IV, 68421U (February 08, 2008); doi:10.1117/12.768124
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From Conference Volume 6842

  • Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics IV
  • Nikiforos Kollias; Bernard Choi; Haishan Zeng; Reza S. Malek; Brian J. Wong; Justus F. R. Ilgner; Kenton W. Gregory; Guillermo J. Tearney; Henry Hirschberg; Steen J. Madsen
  • San Jose, CA | January 19, 2008


One sequela of skull base surgery is the iatrogenic damage to cranial nerves. Devices that stimulate nerves with electric current can assist in the nerve identification. Contemporary devices have two main limitations: (1) the physical contact of the stimulating electrode and (2) the spread of the current through the tissue. In contrast to electrical stimulation, pulsed infrared optical radiation can be used to safely and selectively stimulate neural tissue. Stimulation and screening of the nerve is possible without making physical contact. The gerbil facial nerve was irradiated with 250-μs-long pulses of 2.12 μm radiation delivered via a 600-μm-diameter optical fiber at a repetition rate of 2 Hz. Muscle action potentials were recorded with intradermal electrodes. Nerve samples were examined for possible tissue damage. Eight facial nerves were stimulated with radiant exposures between 0.71-1.77 J/cm2, resulting in compound muscle action potentials (CmAPs) that were simultaneously measured at the m. orbicularis oculi, m. levator nasolabialis, and m. orbicularis oris. Resulting CmAP amplitudes were 0.3-0.4 mV, 0.15-1.4 mV and 0.3-2.3 mV, respectively, depending on the radial location of the optical fiber and the radiant exposure. Individual nerve branches were also stimulated, resulting in CmAP amplitudes between 0.2 and 1.6 mV. Histology revealed tissue damage at radiant exposures of 2.2 J/cm2, but no apparent damage at radiant exposures of 2.0 J/cm2.

© (2008) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.

Claus-Peter Richter ; Ingo Ulrik Teudt ; Adam E. Nevel ; Agnella D. Izzo and Joseph T. Walsh, Jr.
"Optical stimulation of the facial nerve: a surgical tool?", Proc. SPIE 6842, Photonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics IV, 68421U (February 08, 2008); doi:10.1117/12.768124; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.768124

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