Vagal Nerve Stimulation
Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is a non-medication treatment option for severe depression. Using a small implanted device, similar to a pacemaker, mild electrical pulses stimulate the vagal nerve. The vagal nerve naturally sends electrical pulses to the parts of the brain that control mood. VNS triggers this natural process and has proven to reduce depression symptoms in many patients.
VNS was FDA approved for epilepsy in 1997, depression in 2005, and obesity in 2015. It has been used in over 130,000 patients and has a 70% success rate when used for treatment resistant depression.
Have you tried several medications for depression without success? Recent studies have shown that for 30% of depression sufferers, their disease does not respond to antidepressant medication. That’s why AB+BC’s Minneapolis TMS clinic on patients who’s depression hasn’t improved after trying four antidepressants. TMS is FDA-approved and a powerful option for those patients with Treatment Resistant Depression.
7 in 10 patients felt a significant improvement in their depressive symptoms.
4 in 10 patients fully or almost fully recovered from their depressive symptoms.
What to Expect
A vagus nerve stimulator is implanted beneath the skin, just below the collar bone in a short, 1-2 hour outpatient procedure conducted by a surgeon. Patients will go under general anesthesia and most will return home the same day. Two weeks after implantation, your healthcare provider will activate your VNS device. The device will send mild electrical pulses through a thin wire directly to the left vagus nerve in the neck every 5 minutes for 30 seconds.
VNS can take 9-12 months before recipients feel an improvement in their depression symptoms. The batteries in your stimulator will need to be replaced every 3-5 years.
It is best to use VNS as part of a full psychiatric care plan, which may include TMS, medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Your ABBC provider will work with you to develop a personalized psychiatric care plan that best fits your needs, preferences, medical history, and insurance coverage. VNS has many benefits for patients with treatment resistant depression:
- Non-medication option
- Does not cause fatigue, sedation, weight gain, or dry mouth like most antidepressant medications
- Involves a one-time outpatient procedure
- Improves quality of life
- Improves sexual function
- VNS may be safely used in conjunction with medications, talk therapy, ECT, and TMS
Potential side effects of VNS include:
- Hoarse voice
- Neck pain
- Prickling or tingling of skin
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Infection (<3% of cases, most commonly reported side effect of implantation procedure)
Side effects typically only occur during stimulation, are well tolerated, and improve with time.
Working with You
Please let your Advanced Brain and Body Clinic know if you are experiencing any adverse side effects. Your provider can work with you to adjust the pulses’ frequency, duration, and intensity to help limit your side effects.
Get Started Today
Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our treatment resistant depression specialists to learn more: 612-682-4912.
For more information, visit www.livanova.com.
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