July 2019 Edition. Volume XIX

GAIFFEBrush100GIFGaiffeRoll100GIFThe original skin electrodes for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) in the 1860s consisted of rollers and brushes.





Electreat296JPGThe Electreat device manufactured during WWI used saline soaked pads and sponges.  When TENS became a high volume therapy in the 1970s more efficient means of conducting electrical stimulation across the skin were sought.



CSDElectrodes200GIFThe first of the modern TENS skin electrodes were conductive silicone pads taped to the skin over a conductive gel.  These were easily dislodged and the gel would tend to dry out.





EpiductiveRoll200GIFA truly innovative TENS electrode was the Medtronic “Epiductive” skin electrode.  It consisted of a microparticle imprgnated conductive tape activated by a solvent which allowed microparticles to enter the epidermis and make a highly efficient electrical contact. Further research into Epiductive and its use in pattern displays on skin were not pursued by Medtronic.


3MELECTRODE200JPGShown here is a 3M Corporation compound skin electrode utilizing a contained gel on its skin surface. The hardy and effective design serves well for TENS as well as external stimulation for bone growth devices and different types of skin monitoring, particularly for cardiologic purposes.



Skin electrodes are more practical today but it is clear that the technology remains in its infancy when compared to more sophisticated applications of transcutaneous drug delivery, pattern stimulation and other, more advanced applications.

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