Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is neuromodulation that changes the function of the vagus nerve. This change treats conditions like epilepsy, depression, and recovery from a stroke. At RHBNeuro in Dallas, Texas, Randi Baculi, MD, and Sanam Zaidi, PA-C, can recommend and manage VNS for your neurological condition. Call the RHBNeuro office or schedule an appointment online to learn more about VNS.
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) uses an implanted device to deliver mild electrical pulses through your vagus nerve to your brain stem.
The vagus nerve is a cranial nerve and part of your autonomic nervous system (ANS), which controls unconscious body functions like breathing, blood pressure, and digestion.
The vagus nerve runs from your brainstem through your neck and chest to your abdomen, connecting your neck, heart, lungs, and abdomen to your brain. You have a vagus nerve on either side of your body.
VNS is like a pacemaker for the brain, delivering electrical impulses to reset or change the electrical pulses in the brain to get the desired results.
RHBNeuro determines if VNS is the right treatment for you after a consultation. VNS, a form of neuromodulation therapy, is used to treat many conditions, including:
VNS is an FDA-approved treatment for focal seizures (seizure activity that affects one part of the brain) that fail to improve with medication.
People with long-term or recurrent major depression who fail to see an improvement in symptoms after trying many antidepressants might benefit from VNS.
RHBNeuro might also consider you a candidate for VNS as part of your rehabilitation program after a stroke. The therapy benefits those with mild to severe loss of arm and hand function.
A neurosurgeon performs the procedure that places the device needed for VNS.
During this procedure, the surgeon makes two small incisions. One incision is in the chest for the pulse generator, and the other is along the neck for the placement of wires that connect the generator to the vagus nerve.
In most cases, you won’t feel anything from your VNS. Some people might experience tickling in their neck or throat, hoarseness, or a mild cough.
The board-certified neurologist at RHBNeuro closely monitors you, your neurological condition, and possible side effects after placing your VNS device.
Results vary from one patient to the next. A large percentage of the people rehabbing after seizures and stroke notice improvements in their symptoms. Researchers are still investigating how well VNS works for depression.
Call RHBNeuro or schedule an appointment online to learn more about VNS.