Vagal nerve stimulator
Also known as:
Vagus nerve stimulator, VNS
Similar to a pacemaker, a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) is a small device implanted under the skin near your collarbone. A wire (lead) under the skin connects the device to the vagus nerve in your neck. The doctor programs the device to produce weak electrical signals that travel along the vagus nerve to your brain at regular intervals. These signals help prevent the electrical bursts in the brain that cause seizures.
After it is implanted in your body, the battery-powered device can be programmed from outside your body by your doctor. You can also use a handheld magnet to turn the device on if you feel a seizure about to start. And turn it off if it is causing unpleasant side effects. It takes about two hours to surgically implant the VNS device in the chest.
Providence Brain and Spine Institute is a comprehensive, integrated program treating all conditions of the brain and spine. Our recognized specialists are a partner in your care, using the latest technology and techniques to develop the right treatment and recovery plan for you. For more information, please visit Providence Epilepsy Services.