Joyce, my spouse was one of the earliest study subjects for VNS Therapy for Depression (December 13, 1999). I am her long time support person and health care advocate/activist of 5 decades. The intent of the blog is not to promote any therapy, product or treatment but to continue sharing our experiences and knowledge as it relates to VNS. I endorse patient education in collaboration with a caring, knowledgeable and licensed health care professional while also encouraging hope and persistence.
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Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Successful removal and reimplant of vagal nerve stimulator device after 10 years.
Department of Neurosurgery, Bellaria Hospital, Bologna, Italy.
The number of implanted vagal nerve stimulators is growing and the need for removal or revision of the devices will become even more frequent. A significant concern about Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) therapy is the presence of the spiral stimulating electrodes, wrapped around the nerve, once treatment is considered ineffective or is no longer desired. Our purpose is to demonstrate the feasibility of complete removal and replacement of the vagal nerve stimulator electrodes using microsurgical technique even after a long period, without damaging the nerve. We attempted removal and replacement of spiral stimulating electrodes from a patient who received a 10-year long VNS therapy for drug-resistant epilepsy. Our results indicate that the spiral electrodes may be safely removed from the vagus nerve, even after several years. The reversibility of lead implantation may enhance the attractiveness of VNS therapy. Furthermore, with a correct microsurgical technique, it is possible to respect the normal anatomy and functionality of vagal nerve and to reimplant a new VNS system with all its components, maintaining the same therapeutic efficacy after many years.