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VNS implantation - what to expect

  1. Implantation of the VNS requires two incisions: one in the neck in order to access to vagus nerve as it courses between the carotid artery and the internal jugular vein, and one in the groove between the chest and the shoulder where the device pulse generator (battery unit) is secured.
  2. Between the neck incision, where the electrode leads are wrapped around the vagus nerve itself, and the chest incision, the electrodes pass beneath the skin.
  3. The surgery takes 1-1.5 hours and is performed under general anesthesia.
  4. Tissue adhesive is used to close the skin so no stitches need to be removed later.
  5. In general, VNS implantation surgery is an outpatient procedure, and patients are observed for 2-3 hours post-op prior to discharge.
  6. In many cases, the VNS is activated at low settings in the operating room at the time of implantation.

7. Alterations in voice or throat sensation, throat pain, and cough have been observed in children with VNS; however, these symptoms tend to improve over time.

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