It looks like a pacemaker but it prevents seizures. Medicaid has just approved use of a new stimulator for Colorado's youngest epilepsy patients. Surgeons place what looks like a pacemaker just under the skin in the shoulder, and tiny wires go up into the neck and wrap around a major nerve that can sometimes head off seizures.
Like a pacemaker, implanted just beneath the skin under the collar bone, the stimulator sends tiny signals to calm brain activity.
The Vagus Nerve Stimulation can be a good choice for children who do not respond to epilepsy medications. Although the VNS stimulator is not a cure for epilepsy it is reducing the number of seizures, and the Epilepsy Foundation believes patients will find relief.
Patients sometimes feel a little tingling in their chin during impulses, and get a hoarse voice. Otherwise, no other side effects. The device costs about $20,000, but doctors say it saves far more than that in emergency visits and injuries during seizures.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or firstname.lastname@example.org.