To Manage Epileptic Seizures

The vagus nerve stimulator is used in people whose seizures are not helped by medicine. It is powered by a battery. It is placed under the skin and linked to the vagus nerve in the neck during surgery. It gives short bursts of electricity to the brain through the nerve.

You will have seizures less often. It may take up to 2 years to see how well it works. Some people may need to keep taking medicine. But they can often lower the dose. The device may also make problems like depression and alertness better.

The batteries often need to be changed every 5 years. This is done with surgery. You will not need to stay overnight.

Problems may be:

  • Ear pain
  • A sore throat
  • Coughing
  • An upset belly
  • Shortness of breath
  • Problems swallowing
  • Muscle twitching

An RNS is used in people whose seizures are not helped by medicine. The RNS is a battery-powered device. It is surgically placed under the scalp. It is connected to one or two wires that are placed where seizures occur in the person's brain.

The device notices unusual electrical activity in the brain. It sends electrical stimulation before seizures signs happen. You will have fewer seizures. It may take up to 2 years to see how well it works.

The batteries often need to be changed every three years. This is done with surgery. You will not need to stay overnight.

Problems that could happen are:

  • Infection
  • The battery life ending too early

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)

SRS is not surgery. It is done by a doctor who treats problems with the nervous system. A focal radiation treatment is given to the area where the seizures start. You will not need to stay in the hospital overnight.

Problems that could happen are:

  • Swelling of the brain around the area that got the radiation
  • Damage to healthy tissue
  • Pain during the procedure from the frame that is needed to keep your head in place

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
  • Review Date: 03/2019 -
  • Update Date: 03/27/2019 -