There are many different answers to the question whether and to what extent denervation atrophy can be halted. Therapeutic interventions aim to delay muscle atrophy, unfortunately often without being able to halt this process completely. An impaired muscle loses approx. two-thirds of its volume and weight in about 8 to 10 weeks.
Electrical stimulation can be used to stimulate denervated muscles and to cause contractions that prevent or slow down atrophy as well as possibly supporting the regeneration of peripheral nerves. The fact that the paralyzed muscle has lost its accommodation ability allows for functional selective stimulation of paralyzed (denervated) muscles compared to non-denervated muscles in the immediate vicinity or compared to its antagonists. The paralyzed muscle responds to a long exponential (triangular) pulse, while the healthy muscle do not contract until subjected to considerably stronger currents (2 – 5 fold). This makes it possible to use long exponential pulses to achieve selective contraction of the paralyzed muscles. At the same time, the stimulation is sensitive and not a burden on the patient, as the sensitive nerve fibers are allowed to accommodate.