Type of Surgery
Last updated: 02/17/2009
The most common adverse effects from vagal nerve stimulation are a hoarse voice, cough, headache, and ear pain. These side effects can be reduced by adjusting the stimulation settings, and may subside on their own over time. Infection and device malfunction...
are possible though rare.
Patients who have had a VNS implanted must avoid strong magnets, which may affect the stimulator settings. Areas with warning signs posted regarding pacemakers should be avoided. The patient should consult with the neurologist and the neurosurgeon about other hazards.
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
On neurosurgery it is important to have new types of procedures, like stereotactic radiosurgery that is a newer type of focused radiation that has been used with some success for patients with metastatic brain tumors
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