View Full Version : needle electrodes (summary)

Stiphane Bouilland
12-28-1997, 05:58 PM
Dear netters,

Many thanks to everybody who answered me about needle electrodes. You'll
find enclose the summary of answers I got.

Happy new year,


Why not just buy stainless steel wire and then autoclave it.


Dr Eric Powell
North Western Orthotic Unit
Clinical Sciences Building
Hope Hospital
Eccles Old Road
Salford M6 8HD
United Kingdom
telephone: (44) 0161 787 4243
FAX: (44) 0161 787 4241
(e-mail epowell@fs1.ho.man.ac.uk)

Hi Stephane,

I know of a source for wire, that might be of interest to you because
it is in France. It is 'Driver Harris', where we buy Nichrome wire,
diameter 80 m. We use that for EMG measurements in the muscular
layer of the jejunum of rats. We implant 4 pairs of wires, for
differential measurements. This wire is not sterile, we sterilise it
ourselves. If you want, I can send you a copy of an article in which
the surgical procudere is described.

As for sterile wire, I could send you a sample of an 'Electrode
Myocardique de Stimulation Temporaire', which we bought of Medtronic
in the Netherlands. But I doubt if that is what you need. Do you need
wire, or needle or concentric needle? For animals or humans? Note that
I am not an electrode expert, these are just two types that we use


Leonard van Schelven

You can, of course, simplyu "sterilize" the wire. 70% ethyl alcohol, for
15 minutes will do the trick, after you have, obviously, pre-cleaned the
"wire" with soap and water.
The California Fine Wire Company of Grover Beach, California has
fine wires for use in electrodes. You will have to buy the needles
seperately, then insert the wires into the needles, and use an
autoclave to sterilize. Premade fine wire electrodes can be purchased
through Nicolet Biomedical (5225 Verona Rd, Madison, WI, USA 53711,
(608) 271-3333. Hope this helps.

Greg Lange

************************************************** *******************
Gregory W. Lange, M.S. (210) 705-6597 voice
Engineer, Biomechanics Laboratory (210) 705-6567 fax
Santa Rosa Outpatient Rehabilitation Center greg_lange@srhcc.org
for Children and Adults
2701 Babcock Road, San Antonio, Texas, 78229, USA
************************************************** *******************


Vous pouvez contacter Malcolm Forward à: M.Forward@orlau.demon.co.uk
Il a utilisé de telles électrodes, j'ai publié qui était le fournisseur.
Au revoir,
Yves BLANC, PT, Ph.D.
Laboratoire de Cinésiologie
Hopital cantonal Universitaire
1211 GENEVE 14 suisse
Fax xx 41 22 / 37 27 799
Phone xx 41 22 / 37 27 827


Dantec Medical of Denmark produces fine wire intramuscular wire:

Dantec Medical A/S
Tonsbakken 16-18
DK 2740 Skovlunde Denmark
Phone:+45 44 92 31 32

I hope this is helpful.

Prof JD Dishman
Assoc Prof
Dept of Anatomy
Seneca Falls, NY USA


This is where we buy our wire. I'm sure they will ship internationally.

Wire: Size 002, Green, Stablohm 800A, Heavy-poly nylon, $135.00
1000’ roll
California Fine Wire Company
338 S. Fourth Street
P.O. Box 446
Grover City, CA 93483
Phone: (805) 489-5144, Fax: (805) 489-5352

I hope these help,




Years and years ago I got a supply of wire from ³Johnson Matthey
Metals Ltd². It was silver, enamel coated and called, apparently
The diameter was 0.002 inches (not I think mm). The batch was
8677/2/74 so perhaps it was supplied in 1974 It seems to have been of

about 50 g weight.

It was not cheap but I cannot remember the cost.

I still have some of it and could send you a small sample, if you
cannot find another supplier.

Johnson Matthey is a famous name the firm was based in London I think.
There may have been commercial reorganisation and perhaps it is now
part of a bigger business.

The procedure I used was to separated two lengths of wire, then flame
one end of each with a match. This loosened the enamel so that it
could come away with gentle rubbing. The bare ends were then cut back
to be about 2 mm long.

The two wires were threaded through an intramuscular needle (This took
some skill only obtained with considerable practice). The bare ends
were turned back round the tip of the needle. This was then inserted
into the muscle. The needle was then withdrawn leaving the wires
(hopefully`) still in.

The ends outside the body were flamed also to remove the enamel and
were fixed into 4 mm screw terminals for connecting to the emg

I hope this may be of some help

************************************************** ********
Email -



Phone (0)131.664.3046

64, Liberton Drive,
EH16 6NW

I have just put Johnson+Matthey into a search engine on the WWW and
there is a string of entries for different parts of th firm. The
location I have copied as

************************************************** ********
Email -



Phone (0)131.664.3046

64, Liberton Drive,
EH16 6NW
try using acupuncture needles
they are sterile and frequently used for this

Dear Stephane,

I hope someone else has a European source for you, if not here is one in
the US.

I have worked with fine wire electrodes and use wire from a US company
called California Fine Wire Company, Grover Beach, CA 93433 phone
(805)489-5144. The name of the wire that I use is "Stablohm 800A H-poly
Nylon Green" and they have many more to choose from depending on your

The wire does not come sterilized, I make my own electrodes and sterilize
the whole device in a package. As you may know, how to make and sterilze
electrodes is described well in the book Muscles Alive, by John Basmajian
and Carlo Deluca.

************************************************** ******************
Katy Rudolph, MSPT Ph: 302-831-4646
University of Delaware Fax:302-831-4234
Department of Physical Therapy krudolph@udel.edu
303 McKinly Lab
Newark, DE 19716

We use
121 S. Columbus Ave.
Mount Vernon, N.Y. 10553
However, it is not sterile; We assemble the wire into electrodes, with the
connector and needle, package them, clean them with alcohol and then
sterilize them in the autoclave.

Contact me if you need further information
Richard V. Baratta, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Director of Rehabilitative Engineering
Louisiana State University Medical Center
2025 Gravier Street, Suite 400
New Orleans, LA 70112
voice: 504-568-2251
fax: 504-599-1144
E-mail: rbarat@lsumc.edu



To make indwelling electrodes, you don't buy sterile wire. It could be
contaminated by the time you put it into the needle for insertion. It's
best to make up the wires in the cannula of the hypodermic needle and then
autoclave the unit to sterilize it. We have never had any reported
infection with this method. Of course you do not reuse needles or wires.
Constructing the unit is described in detail in *Muscles Alive* by
Basmajian and De Luca (1985) pp. 29-33. They also give names of
manufacturers where the wire can be ordered.

I bought my wire at a local electrical construction company about 10 years
ago. It came in roll of a minimum of about 500 meters. I still probably
have 400 meters left. They (Basmajian and De Luca) say 25 micrometer wire
can be used but can easily break (although there is minimum hazard if the
wire broke off in the muscle because it is so small - I have had tips
remain in a couple of my own muscles without any problem). We also found
the finer wire is difficult to work with because they are thinner than hair
(even my thinning hair). We found 40 micrometer wire works well. If you use
a 27 gauge needle, it is still difficult to get the wire through, but
easier than the 50 or 75 gauge they also recommended. A 25 gauge needle is
easier to work with, but more painful to the individual.

Hope this helps.


Bruce Etnyre, Ph.D., P.T. _/_/_/_/ _/_/_/_/ _/_/_/ _/_/_/_/ _/ _/
Human Performance and _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/
Health Sciences Dept. _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/
Rice University _/_/_/_/_/ _/ _/ _/_/_/ _/ _/
6100 Main MS 545 _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/
Houston, Texas 77005 _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/
USA _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/
etnyre@rice.edu _/ _/ _/_/_/_/ _/_/_/ _/_/_/_/ _/_/ _/
FAX: (713)285-5329

The Wire does not come sterile, & even if it did you would have to sterilize
it after you made the electrodes. In the US I order from California Fine Wire
Company, Grover City, CA 93433. I use the 0.002 or 0.00175 Stablohm 800-A
H-Poly Nylon Green wire which is about $100 US. This is 1000 ft long. I hope
this helps...



We make fine-wire electrodes according to the Basmajian instructions (see
Two wires are inserted into a muscle with a needle. The needle is then
removed. Following is the text of a procedure description that we use in our





Fine-wire electrodes will be constructed by staff members of the Motion
Analysis Laboratory for electromyographic testing.


1. Obtain the supplies needed to construct the electrodes. The
following is a list of supplies: Needles (25 gauge, 1 1/2 inch),
Tower DualPeel Self Seal Pouches (7 1/2 x 13 inch), scissors,
butane lighter, tweezers, and 50 micron, insulated, stainless
steel wire. The wire can be special ordered from California Fine
Wire Co., 338 South Fourth Street, P.O . Box 446, Grover City
CA 93433, phone number (805) 489-5144.

2. Construct the electrodes using the technique described by
Basmajian and De Luca, in "Muscles Alive," 5th ed,
Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore MD, 1985, page 31. See
following diagram.

3. After constructing the electrode, replace the cap on the
needle and place the electrode in the self seal pouch.
Write the date on the pouch.

4. Sterilize the electrodes according to the policy described
under Sterilization.

One roll of wire currently costs about US$140 and should last for many years.

I hope this is helpful to you. Best wishes for your research.

Larry Lamoreux

Dear Stephane,

Our group has been using bipolar indwelling wire emg at Sydney University,
Australia for the last 12 months. Our wire is imported from the USA from
A-M Systems, Inc. 11627-A Airport Road, Everett, WA 98204 USA Tel:
800-426-1306 FAX: 206-353-9754. We were originally using .003" bare
(stainless steel), .0045" coated (teflon) wire, but the manufacturer was
concerned about "leakage" and has recently added an extra coat of teflon to
bring the wire to be 0.005" coated. This change made it necessary for us
to change the size of our hypodermic needles to fit the two strands of
wire. We would prefer to use thinner wire.

I wish to know of other sources of wire of a thickness (when doubled)
suitable for 25 gauge hypodermic needles (and the costs per roll). I would
greatly appreciate it if you would pass on any replies to your request
either to me directly or on to the Biomechanics list serve. We have to
import the wire anyway so if a source was located in Europe, it might be OK

Thanks and Merry Christmas

Jan Douglas-Morris, (J.Douglas-Morris@cchs.usyd.eduau)
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Telephone Voice 61 2 93519 141
Faculty of Health Sciences, Fax 61 2 93519 520
University of Sydney,
East Street,
Lidcombe NSW 2141