Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS-Therapy) is a method of epilesy surgery that requires no direct operation at the human brain. The X. Cranial Nerve (Vagal Nerve) supplies vegetative organs inside of the pharynx, thorax and upper abdomen. It also sends signals from there back to the brain. This signalling pathway is used by the vagal nerve stimulation: The Vagal Nerve can be accessed very simple and with low complications to implant an electrode around it. A cable can be placed underneath the skin to a pulse generator that is placed subcutaneously in the upper thoracic region similar to a cardiac pacemaker. The generator sends electric pulses to the vagal nerve (e.g. every 5 minutes for 30 seconds). Hereby the nerval signalling characteristics are changed. By a not completely understood mechanism metabolic changes within the brain occur and influence severe epilepsies that have been not responding to medication before. Also depressions can be treated by that therapy.
Pediatric Neurosurgeons usually cooperate with collegues of Functional Neurosurgery that have a high level of expertise for VNS therapy. Further information on active worldwide centers of Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery and VNS-Therapy can be provided via Email.