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Variations of Guide Cannulae

What is a guide cannula?

Variations of Guide Cannulae

Neuroscience researchers use guide cannulae in animals to study regions of interest in the brain. A guide cannula is a hollow tube that is implanted into an animal, to allow for fluid or drug infusion. Generally, guide cannulae are cut to a specific length and then carefully placed surgically using a stereotaxic.

Researchers have been making their own guide cannulae for almost as long as neuroscience research has existed. Guides can be made of many various components and modifications are easily done in the lab.

However, commercially available guide cannulae often come with a higher level of precision and allow for greater replication of results. All available commercial cannula come with a threaded plastic piece, called a pedestal, which allows for mating components to be attached.

There are many types of commercially available guide cannula for varied research applications. Below is listed a selection of guide cannula and a brief description.



The simplest form of guide cannula is made out of an open tubing that is implanted directly into the brain. Most commonly they are made of stainless steel, but they can also be made with PEEK, fused silica or other types of plastic. These are the most basic types of guides a researcher can use.

Benefits include:

  • Easy modification for a multitude of applications
  • Cost effective
  • Readily available

Standard Pedestal

Standard guide

The standard pedestal guide cannula is the most versatile of premade options commercially available. The standard pedestal guide comes with a small upward projection and a threaded pedestal to make attachment of mating components quick and easy.

Benefits include:

  • Easy customization
  • Large variety of gauge sizes
  • Uniform product

Short Pedestal

Short Pedestal Guides

The short pedestal guide cannula is a good option for use with animals like mice, although they will also work with larger animals. The smaller pedestal allows the researcher to make a smaller headcap. This can help prevent the cap being caught in the cage and pulled out, as well as making the headcap lighter on the animalís head.

We generally recommend using at least a 5mm pedestal for studies longer than 2 weeks. This is because options smaller than 5mm are hard to cement in place because of the reduced number of threads on the pedestal. When using pedestals smaller than 5mm, researchers may find cyanoacrylate gel to be a suitable replacement for short term studies.

Benefits include:

  • Small headcap size
  • Lighter weight

Ring Lock

Ring Lock Guide

The ring lock guide cannula has a small plastic ring molded around the center of the pedestal. It was developed to help prevent small animals from removing their dummy caps during the grooming process. The ring gives the dummy a stopping point to screw down onto the guide the same depth every time the dummy is reinserted. An additional benefit is that the ring gives inexperienced technicians a visual aid for cementing the headcap into place.

Benefits include:

  • Replicable dummy projection each time
  • Good teaching cannula

Upward Projection

Upward Projection

The upward projection cannula was developed for researchers that did not need to use an internal. The upward projection allows for the direct connection of tubing to the guide for fluid infusion.

Benefits include:

  • Fewer mating components needed
  • Direct connection to the cannula

Long Pedestal

Long Pedestal Guide

The Long pedestal offers a viable option for customers using animals larger than rodents. The long pedestals are suitable for making headcaps with animals such as pigs and nonhuman primates.

Benefits include:

  • Taller headcap


Acute Guide

The acute guide cannula was designed for the researcher who does not want to use an internal cannula, that prefers to do a direct injection. The recessed top allows for easy introduction of a syringe into the top of the guide cannula.

Benefits include:

  • Fewer mating components needed


Flanged Guide

The flanged guide cannula has a small circular base with small holes in it. The holes in the flange can be used with skull screws to attach the cannula to the skull. Another option is to get the tubing bent below pedestal and the holes in the flange can be used to suture the cannula in place on the skin. The flanged guide is available with a short or standard pedestal size.

Benefits include:

  • No need for cement
  • Easily suturable

As long as there are new projects being developed in research, the number and type of guide cannulae offered will only continue to grow. P1 Technologies, Inc is proud to be a supplier of all the cannula types listed above, as well as on the frontline of developing new approaches to help the researcher in their work. Contact us today, so a technical expert can help select the guide cannula and system that will work best for you.

Contact us today for more information or for a customized solution for your project!

By: Aubrey Shifflett