For some patients with uncontrolled epilepsy, implanting a vagal nerve stimulator may be an option for treating seizures.
A vagal nerve stimulator (VNS) is a small battery-operated device that sends electrical pulses to the brain that can reduce seizure frequency. The VNS is placed under the skin in the chest with wires that are attached to the vagus nerve in the neck. The VNS sends electrical impulses to the brain at regular intervals. During a seizure, a magnet can be swiped across the device to send extra impulses to the brain that may reduce the length or severity of the seizure.
The neurologists and neurosurgeons at Barnes-Jewish & Washington University Comprehensive Epilepsy Center have extensive experience in evaluation and treatment with VNS, and have been involved in experimental trials for evaluation of the device. After surgery, patients meet regularly with a neurologist for routine maintenance and adjustments for the best seizure control.
For a referral to a Washington University neurologist or neurosurgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call