Variation in deep brain stimulation electrode impedance over years following electrode implantation

David Satzer, David Lanctin, Lynn E. Eberly, Aviva Abosch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Background: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrode impedance is a major determinant of current delivery to target tissues, but long-term variation in impedance has received little attention. Objectives: To assess the relationship between electrode impedance and time in a large DBS patient population and characterize the relationship between contact activity and impedance. Methods: We collected retrospective impedance and programming data from 128 electrodes in 84 patients with Parkinson's disease, essential tremor or dystonia. Effects of time, contact activity, stimulation voltage and other parameters on impedance were assessed. We also examined impedance changes following contact activation and deactivation. Results: Impedance decreased by 73 Ω/year (p < 0.001), with 72% of contacts following a downward trend. Impedance was on average 163 Ω lower in active contacts (p < 0.001). Contact activation and inactivation were associated with a more (p < 0.001) and less (p = 0.016) rapid decline in impedance, respectively. Higher stimulation voltages were associated with lower impedance values (p < 0.001). Contact number and electrode model were also significant predictors of impedance. Conclusions: Impedance decreases gradually in a stimulation-dependent manner. These trends have implications for long-term programming, the development of a closed-loop DBS device and current understanding of the electrode-tissue interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-102
Number of pages9
JournalStereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Movement disorders


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