ELECTRODE IMPLANTATION overview Electrode implantation explained step by step.

Implanting your electrodes step by step

Implanting your research electrodes correctly has a strong impact on the quality of data you will be recording with them. In order to make use of research equipment as efficiently as possible we recommend to follow this overview of implantation methodology.

Before the surgery

1. Designing the experiment

  • Order device systems
  • Organize surgical plan
  • Sterilize device

For more details, check our guide for new users.

2. Preparing the surgery

  • Sterilize surgical field
  • Ensure correct wire lengths
  • Place in stereotactic device
  • Perform craniotomy
  • Isolate region of interest

Implanting your electrode.

Implanting electrodes into the brain properly requires some practice. The following overview illustrates the eight major steps of the implantation procedure.

Step 1: Anesthetize the subject and placing in stereotactic frame. Remove the skin and expose the region of interest of the skull.
Step 2: Remove the bone above the region of interest. Smooth any sharp edges and store in saline.
Step 3: Mount the connector on the skull, positioned so that the array is within reach of the implantation site, with adequate spacing if using more than one connector.
Step 4: Once the pedestal is mounted, cut the dura and hold in place using temporary sutures. Carefully position at desired implant site.
Step 5: Attach the pneumatic inserter  to the stereotaxic frame and use it to fully implant the array into the cortex.
Step 6: Place reference wires attached to the pedestal underneath the dura, contacting the cortical surface. Suture the dura back into position.
Step 7: Carefully replace the bone flap and secure it using a Ti bracket. Replace and suture the skin.
Step 8: Attach the appropriate headstage to the connector and test the ensure functionality.


Good to know: What to take into account with rodents

Due to the reduced size of the subjects, rodent surgeries require several changes in the standard implantation procedure. The most important differences are:

Tip 1: For implanting rodents, a non-pneumatic inserter should be used for placing the electrode in the cortical surface.  

Tip 2: For securely attaching the omnetics connector to the rodent skull, cement is the best choice and not screws.
Tip 3: The craniotomy is closed using a silicon elastomer, rather than replacing skull flap.


For assistance in planning an implantation in rodents, don’t hesitate to contact a Blackrock technical consultant.

Good to know: What to take into account with peripheral nerve

Peripheral array implantation follow many of the same steps as cortical sites, but several important differences exist. The implantation site exposure will be dependent upon region of interest.



Tip 1: Use a backstop to ensure the pneumatic inserter fully implants the array.


Tip 2: Secure connectors to the subject using bone mounts if chronic, sutures if acute.


For assistance in planning an implantation in peripheral nerves, don’t hesitate to contact a Blackrock technical consultant.

Surgical Training

Correctly implanting the array is a crucial step in ensuring the best recordings possible for your device. Blackrock provides several resources to help you get the training you need.

Review the surgical procedure manual

The surgical manual details all the key steps in a typical cortex implantation. It can be found here

Attend a surgery training

Blackrock regularly organizes surgery workshops. Upcoming workshops are announced here. Please check here for a review of our latest surgery training in Marseille, France, April 2017.

Contact a Blackrock consultant or purchase premium support service

Our support team is always available help plan and prepare for procedures, purchase premium support service for more in depth help.


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