Treatment - VNS
Vagus Nerve Stimulators (VNS) were approved by the FDA for epilepsy in 1997. The first FDA approved VNS implantation in Louisiana was performed by the LSU Epilepsy Center at Memorial Medical Center. Since that time over 150 adults and children have been implanted at the Center. Approximately 40% of patients who try the VNS experience a 50% decrease in seizures. Approximately 15% of patients experience an 80% reduction in seizures. Patients continue to take antiepileptic medications but sometimes at reduced amounts. Because VNS does not offer the hope of a cure, it is used when seizures do not respond to medications and surgery is not a good option. Epilepsy monitoring at an epilepsy center capable of performing epilepsy surgery should always be performed prior to implanting a VNS to make sure that it is warranted and is the best treatment option. For patients who need VNS, implantation can usually be scheduled by the Epilepsy Center Neurosurgeon very quickly. Implantation is an outpatient procedure. The patient leaves the hospital the same day the device is implanted. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and takes about 2 hours.