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Vagus Nerve Stimulation

There are a variety of medications and treatments that can help those diagnosed with epilepsy. While most patients can control their seizures with medication, others may need a special diet or procedure. Patients undergo tests and monitoring in a state-of-the-art epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) before recommendations are made for any type of surgery or procedure.

One treatment option for patients with medically refractory epilepsy (that which does not respond to medications) is vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). In this minimally invasive procedure, doctors implant a small device similar to a pacemaker near the patient’s collar bone. It sends electrical signals to stimulate the left vagus nerve in the neck. This can reduce seizures by up to 40 percent. The device operates automatically, but patients can also activate the device on their own when they feel a seizure coming on.

VNS is one of many innovative techniques the Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program has available for patients, allowing the team of physicians to best tailor treatment to each patient and produce the best outcomes possible. The group’s mission is to help epilepsy patients gain control of their seizures and regain their desired quality of life by applying the most comprehensive diagnostic and treatment methods available.

For more information about the Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Mischer Neuroscience Institute, or to schedule a consultation with one of our physicians, please contact Jessica Johnson at (713) 500-5443 or jessica.a.johnson@uth.tmc.edu.