There’s one vagus nerve on each side of your body, running from your brainstem through your neck to your chest and abdomen.
With vagus nerve stimulation, a device is surgically implanted (by a neurosurgeon) under the skin on your chest. A wire is threaded under your skin connecting the device to the left vagus nerve. When activated, the device sends electrical signals along the vagus nerve to your brainstem, which then sends signals to certain areas in your brain.
Many people with epilepsy don’t respond to anti-seizure drugs. Vagus nerve stimulation may be an option to reduce the frequency of seizures in people who haven’t been helped by medications.
Vagus nerve stimulation may also be helpful for people who haven’t responded to standard depression treatments, such as anti-depressant medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy).
When Vagus Nerve Stimulation May Be a Good Option
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved vagus nerve stimulation for people who:
- Are 12 and older
- Have focal (partial) epilepsy
- Have seizures that aren’t well controlled with medications
Lakeside has numerous patients who have had the stimulator implanted for successful treatment of their seizures. If you would like to know more information about vagus nerve stimulation – our providers will be happy to explain the benefits of this form of treatment.