Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Vagus Nerve Stimulationis undertaken by patients with epilepsy when medication alone does not seem to help with the ailment. After this procedure a reduction in the severity and frequency of epileptic seizures is achieved. In this method, a stimulator/pulse generator similar to a pacemaker is inserted within the body, placed on the chest and connected to the left vagus nerve in the neck. The implanted device sends regular mild pulses to the brain to help control the seizures. The implantation is done through a surgery where two small incisions are made, one each on the chest and on the neck.
How does it help?
The results of Vagus Nerve Stimulation may vary from patient to patient. In some, this procedure has been observed to control the severity of the seizures and even made them less frequent while in some the results may prove to be a little less effective. The procedure is also seen to improve memory, mood and thus the quality of life, and may also help with depression.
However, Vagus Nerve Stimulation is an adjunctive treatment.
Other than surgical risks like bleeding and infection, the following side effects resulting from Vagus Nerve Stimulation can be noticed:
- Throat pain
- Sleep apnea
- Shortness of breath
A small lump can be felt in the place where the stimulator is inserted within the body. An after effect of the surgery is that a scar is formedon the chest and in the folds of the neck where the electrodes lay coiled.
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