Vagus Nerve Stimulator

The first procedure done in Tallahassee for the implantation of the Vagus Nerve Stimulator was performed January 22, 1999, at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital by local physicians from Tallahassee Neurological Clinic. Since then, many patients in our community have benefited from this procedure.

The Neuro Cybernetic Prosthesis System (Vagus Nerve Stimulator) was developed by Cyberonics after 15 years of research and clinical studies. The Vagus Nerve Stimulator was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 16, 1997, for use as an add-on therapy in reducing the frequency of seizures in adults and adolescents over 12 years of age who have partial onset seizures that are difficult to manage with anti-epileptic medications alone.

The role of the neurologist in treating patients who have a Vagus Nerve Stimulator is to program and monitor the device that controls the electrical stimulations of the vagus nerve, and manage the patients anti-epileptic medications. The surgeon plays a more technical role in the care of these patients.  He is responsible for the placement of the electrode and stimulator, and for the follow-up surgical care.

Currently under investigation at several university centers is the use of the Vagus Nerve Stimulator in the treatment of depression. During prior clinical trials for epilepsy treatment, the investigators had noticed that patients with seizures who also suffered from clinical depression showed an improvement in their depression. This beneficial “side effect” has been well documented, and the results from current clinical trials are encouraging. Within the next couple of years, the Vagus Nerve Stimulator may prove to be an additional, effective therapy for patients with clinical depression.


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