Restoration of motor function to paralyzed limbs by functional electrical stimulation (FES) has been hampered by the lack of precise and gradual control over muscle recruitment. A suitable interface should provide selective stimulation of individual muscles with graded recruitment of force. The BION was developed to enable neuromuscular stimulation through a miniature, self-contained implant designed to be injected in or near muscles and peripheral nerves. In this study, recruitment properties and comfort of the BION implanted electrical stimulation were systematically evaluated in subjects who participated in a clinical trial. Recruitment properties were qualitatively similar to other methods of implanted neuromuscular stimulation: thresholds and steepness of recruitment were negatively correlated and depended on stimulus charge (product of pulse current and duration). Perceived comfort was not affected by the choice of stimulus parameters, thus their choice can be based purely on technical considerations such as efficiency or resolution of recruitment.
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