Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that around 1.2 percent of individuals in the United States have active epilepsy. This condition affects the lives of nearly half a million children and three million adults nationwide. Over the years, numerous technological advancements have resulted in the development of more effective treatment options for individuals who suffer from this condition. One specific treatment, called Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS), has shown promising results. Here is what you should know.
What Is Vagus Nerve Stimulation?
This treatment specifically targets the vagus nerve, which runs up both sides of the neck before entering the brain. The vagus nerve stimulator sends electrical pulses to this specific nerve. The nerve then carries the pulses to the brain to prevent seizures or decrease the length of active seizures.
How Do VNS Devices Work?
VNS devices work by giving out small electrical pulses at regular intervals throughout the day. These pulses work to prevent seizures from happening. If a patient is about to have a seizure, VNS will sense the changes in the heart rate and send out extra pulses to prevent it from happening or decrease the severity.
Who Can Receive VNS?
VNS is an effective therapy option for individuals who are over the age of four. In addition, patients who meet the following criteria can also benefit:
- Individuals who are not good candidates for surgery to treat epilepsy
- Individuals who have not experienced relief by taking epilepsy medication
- Individuals who experience partial or focal seizures
How Is the Device Placed?
A brief surgical procedure is performed to place the VNS device. The patient is administered sedative medication, and a small incision is made into the skin of the chest. The small generator device is then placed in the chest, and the wires from the device are threaded up through the left vagus nerve. The threads wrap around the nerve to ensure it remains in place. The incision is then sutured shut.
It can take some time before patients begin experiencing fewer seizures. However, most individuals see noticeable improvements within a few months to a year.
Schedule an Epilepsy Treatment Consultation Today
Epilepsy can be a devastating condition to deal with. However, our team at Freedom Spine & Pain Center can help you find some relief through some of the most advanced treatment options available. If you are interested in seeing if Vagus Nerve Stimulation can help you, contact our office today at (210) 920-8945. We have decades of experience serving individuals in Boerne, Kerrville, and San Antonio, TX, and we are here to help you find the relief you need.