A Wireless Neuroprosthesis for Patients with Drug-refractory Epilepsy: A Proof-of-Concept Study

Pantaleo Romanelli, Taufik A Valiante, Stefano Seri, Cosimo Puttilli, Mauro Picciafuoco, Martin Jakobs, Andres Lozano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Acute or protracted cortical recording may be necessary for patients with drug-refractory epilepsy to identify the ictogenic regions before undergoing resection. Currently, these invasive recording techniques present certain limitations, one of which is the need for cables connecting the recording electrodes placed in the intracranial space with external devices displaying the recorded electrocorticographic signals. This equates to a direct connection between the sterile intracranial space with the non-sterile environment. Due to the increasing likelihood of infections with time, subdural grids are typically removed a few days after implantation, a limiting factor in localizing the epileptogenic zone if seizures are not frequent enough to be captured within this time-frame. Furthermore, patients are bound to stay in the hospital, connected by the wires to the recording device, thus increasing substantially the treatment costs. To address some of the current shortcomings of invasive monitoring, we developed a neuroprosthesis made of a subdural silicone grid connected to a wireless transmitter allowing prolonged electrocorticografic recording and direct cortical stimulation. This device consists of a silicone grid with 128-platinum/iridium contacts, connected to an implantable case providing wireless recording and stimulation. The case also houses a wirelessly rechargeable battery for chronic long-term implants. We report the results of the first human proof-of-concept trial for wireless transmission of electrocorticographic recordings using a device suited for long-term implantation in three patients with drug-refractory epilepsy. Methods Three patients with medically refractory epilepsy underwent the temporary intraoperative placement of the subdural grid connected to the wireless device for recording and transmission of electrocorticographic signals for a duration of five minutes before the conventional recording electrodes were placed or the ictal foci were resected. Results Wireless transmission of brain signals was successfully achieved. The wireless electrocorticographic signal was judged of excellent quality by a blinded neurophysiologist. Conclusions This preliminary experience reports the first successful placement of a wireless electrocorticographic recording device in humans. Long-term placement for prolonged wireless electrocorticographic recording in epilepsy patients will be the next step.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere5868
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

© Copyright 2019
Romanelli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 3.0., which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Dive into the research topics of 'A Wireless Neuroprosthesis for Patients with Drug-refractory Epilepsy: A Proof-of-Concept Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this