Vagus Nerve Stimulation Review
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is a type of medical procedure used in the adjunctive treatment for a number of intractable epilepsy types and for treatment-resistant depression. This is a non drug treatment option designed to reduce the frequency of seizures in patients with partial seizures or generalized seizures that are refractory to anti-epileptic medications.
The alternative treatment is offered by numerous suppliers and medical professionals. Cyberonics is one of them and we will be referring to it throughout this review. The company founded in 1987 pioneered The VNS therapy system and still manufactures a special device required during the procedure.
FDA approved The Vagus Nerve Stimulation therapy as an adjunctive therapy for partial-onset epilepsy in 1997. Eight years later, in 2005, FDA approved the use of VNS for treatment-resistant depression, a decision which still is highly controversial.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation Ingredients
The Vagus Nerve Stimulation therapy has been clinically proven to reduce the intensity and number of seizures and, in some cases, to completely eliminate them. Long term effective seizure control, without wear-off results is another proven benefit of VNS.
The treatment works by affecting the activity of the vague nerve, one of the primary communication channels between the body and the brain. During the procedure, the vague nerve is stimulated and thus electrical irregularities that cause seizures are prevented. Prior to starting treatment, a careful assessment is usually conducted in order to determine if a patient is a good candidate or not.
VNS Therapy is delivered by a device (generator) similar to a pacemaker, which is placed under the skin through a minimally invasive surgery procedure.
Common side effects of include shortness of breath, temporary hoarseness or changes in voice tone, coughing and a tickling sensation in the throat. These side effects generally occur during stimulation periods and according to the manufacturer typically decrease over time.
- This is a FDA-approved treatment
- The whole treatment is based on a minimal invasive procedure
- The treatment is expensive
- The Vagus Nerve Stimulation therapy was associated with several mild side effects
The VNS therapy is a non-drug treatment alternative for people suffering from a seizure disorder or treatment-resistant depression, in both cases the treatment having been approved by the FDA. Many patients have agreed that the procedure is effective with little side effects.
However, the cost of therapy may prove to be high and not always and in all cases covered by an insurance scheme. Also, not all patients may access the treatment; hence a complete health evaluation is required prior to placing the device and starting treatment.
10yrs or More
|HCF Quality (4.8)||(4.8)|
|Vagus Nerve Stimulation (2.6)||(2.6)||N/A|
Vagus Nerve Stimulation is a technique used in epilepsy and treatment resistant depression and is approved by the FDA starting in 1997. However there are many controversies surrounding the usage of Vagus Nerve Stimulation as some specialists believe it can help while others find it inefficacious. Vagus Nerve Stimulation starts with an incision that allows the specialist to reach the vagus nerve, which is then acted upon for improvements in GABA levels.
Is Vagus Nerve Stimulation Right For You?
Vagus Nerve Stimulation is a type of medical procedure that is very similar to shock therapy. However, it is more refined and promoted to be a very effective form of treatment. Many different medical professionals offer it, so you will have to do some research to find out who offers it in your area.
The procedure requires a special device that is usually manufactured by Cyberonics, Inc., but others manufacturers may produce it as well. Cyberonics introduced the device for the first time in 1987. The company is currently located in Texas, United States, but they also have headquarters in Belgium.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation is promoted as a type of treatment to help prevent epileptic seizures. However, the developer of this technique has also developed it as a means of contributing to reducing the symptoms of depression that have been very hard to treat through other means.
Ingredients of Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Effectiveness of Vagus Nerve Stimulation
Vagus Nerve Stimulation is promoted to work through the use of regular electrical currents being sent to the brain through the vagus nerve. It is often referred to in the same terms as what a pacemaker can do for the heart this can do for the brain. However, it is important to note that a careful assessment will have to be completed to determine if a patient is a good candidate or not.
This type of surgery involves an incision being placed along the left side of the chest. The device that is inserted consists of a small battery. The entire procedure can take up to 1 ½ hours to complete. The patient is under anesthesia during the process. Depending on the health of the patient they may be allowed to go home the same day. Many doctors require an overnight stay though for observation.
The results of Vagus Nerve Stimulation therapy are still being investigated. There are reports of people being able to reduce their number of seizures caused by epilepsy. For others, the severity of the seizures is reduced.
Close monitoring is required to keep the battery in the right sync for optimal results. This is done using a wand and a computer to set the battery at the right intervals to stimulate the vagus nerve. The battery can last up to 10 years and then it will need to be replaced.
There are risks involved with any surgery including this deep brain stimulation process. Understanding the pros, cons, and risks of the procedure is paramount before making the decision to move forward with it.
The FDA has approved the use of Vagus Nerve Stimulation for treating seizures as well as extreme depression in those over 18 years of age. This approval came after seven years of extensive studies conducted by the FDA. They are also conducting studies to see if this procedure may offer relief to those suffering from chronic migraine headaches.
Some of the risks involved with this procedure include an allergic reaction to the anesthesia, pain around the incision area for several weeks, infection, breathing problems, heart problems, voice changes, sore throat, and fatigue.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation Price
The cost involved with Vagus Nerve Stimulation can be very expensive. The overall cost though will depend on the facility, the medical staff involved, and if hospitalization is required or not. In many instances, health insurance will cover the cost of part or all of the procedure. It is important to check with the insurance company in advance to find out what they will pay for.
Most insurance policies will cover the Vague Nerve Stimulation for those with epilepsy, but they won’t cover it to pay for depression treatment. If the insurance won’t cover the procedure or a patient doesn’t have insurance there may be some other alternatives out there to look into. Some of them can be found on the Epilepsy Foundation website.
Does Vagus Nerve Stimulation Work?
This type of medical procedure is believed to alleviate the symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. While there are many differing opinions about the effective of this procedure, many patients have agreed that this is quite effective with little side effects.
Unfortunately, this can be very taxing, both physically and financially. As always, it is advised to carefully consider the pros and cons of any medication.