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VNS Therapy™ Procedure FAQs

Find answers to commonly asked questions about the VNS Therapy™ implant procedure

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Implant Procedure

Are there risks linked with the surgery?

The most common side effect of the VNS Therapy implant procedure is infection. As with most surgical procedures, there are some standard risks. Your neurologist and surgeon will discuss these risks with you.

What happens after the procedure?

Most people go home the same day or the day following the procedure. Your doctor will schedule follow up appointments to program and fine-tune your stimulation settings.

What is the procedure like?

The procedure for VNS Therapy implantation is not brain surgery.

A small device (generator) is implanted under the skin in the chest and a thin wire (lead) connects the device to the left vagus nerve in the neck. This occurs during a short outpatient procedure which involves two small incisions and is typically performed under general anesthesia.

Will the implanted device be visible to others?

The generator is small, not more than 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter depending on the model. If you have a small or thin frame, the shape of the device may be visible below the left collarbone. If this is a concern for you, we recommend discussing with your doctor.

Will the scars be noticeable?

Each person has different healing and scarring results. You should expect some scarring from the procedure. If scarring is a special concern for you, we recommend discussing this with your surgeon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Choose from a range of topics including product safety, procedure, device, MRI, magnet use and more.

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VNS Therapy™ Safety Profile

The most common side effects of VNS Therapy™ include:

Shortness of breath
Sore throat

These side effects generally only occur during stimulation and usually decrease over time. The most common side effect of the surgical procedure is infection.

Children under 12 may have a greater risk of infection than those 12 years of age and older and may be more likely to experience lead damage due to higher activity levels and the potential to manipulate the lead. Talk to your physician about the best ways to avoid these complications and about warnings, precautions, side effects, and hazards. Ask about risks that you should know about as well as any other issues that might be appropriate to discuss, such as status epilepticus and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

You can find more safety information here.