Monopolar needle electrode spatial recording characteristics

John C. King, Daniel Dumitru, Dick Stegeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The recording characteristics of the monopolar needle in three dimensions have not been well established. A simple spherical recording territory is commonly assumed with the very tip proposed to have a greater spatial recording sensitivity by some authors. We demonstrate by enlarged physical modeling in a homogeneous volume conductor that the recorded amplitude diminishes more gradually radially away from the conical surface than distally past the tip or proximal to the insulation edge. The sensitivity over the exposed metallic surface is found to be uniformly proportional to the area, which results in relatively less sensitivity at the tip than the middle and proximal portions of the conical recording surface. The overall spatial amplitude recording characteristics can be better described by an apple shape than a sphere, centered at the midportion of the exposed conical surface. A better appreciation of the actual spatial recording characteristics of the monopolar needle electrode can result in more accurate physiologic interpretations of quantitative motor unit analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1310-1319
Number of pages10
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1996


  • electrode modeling
  • electrodes
  • electrodiagnosis
  • instrumentation
  • monopolar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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