Type of Surgery
Last updated: 02/17/2009
Vagal nerve stimulation is a relatively safe procedure, with no deaths attributed to the stimulation as of 2003. Pilot studies of 300 patients that were done prior to FDA approval of VNS reported the following complication rates: hoarseness, 37% of...
patients; coughing, 14%; voice alteration, 13%; chest pain, 12%; and nausea, 2%.
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an adjunctive treatment for certain types of intractable epilepsy and major depression. VNS uses an implanted stimulator that sends electric impulses to the left vagus nerve in the neck via a lead wire implanted under the skin.
Vagus, the tenth cranial nerve arises from the medulla and carries both afferent and efferent fibers. The afferent vagal fibers connect to the nucleus of the solitary tract which in turn projects connections to other locations in the central nervous system. Little is understood about exactly how vagal nerve stimulation modulates mood and seizure control but proposed mechanisms include alteration of norepinephrine release by projections of solitary tract to the locus coeruleus, elevated levels of inhibitory GABA related to vagal stimulation and inhibition of aberrant cortical activity by reticular system activation
Select comparative data from 1999 to 2006 include an 11 percent increase in the number of neurosurgeons with full-time academic appointments and a 6 percent increase in the number of female neurosurgeons.
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