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Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What do I need to know about vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)?

VNS is a treatment used for epilepsy and depression. VNS is used when medicines and other treatments have not worked well. VNS may help shorten the recovery time after you have a seizure. VNS may also help decrease symptoms of depression. It may take several months to notice changes in your seizure or depression symptoms.

How does VNS work?

Vagus Nerve Stimulator

How do I prepare for VNS surgery?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He or she will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. You may be given an antibiotic through your IV to help prevent a bacterial infection. Arrange to have someone drive you home.

What will happen during VNS surgery?

What will happen after VNS surgery?

What are the risks of VNS or surgery to place the generator?

You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. You may have pain or discomfort where the device is placed. You may have an allergic reaction to the device or the wire. You may have pain or feel a shock during stimulation. You may have headaches, tingling on your skin, or trouble sleeping. The wire may move and you may need to have surgery again.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.