Clinical Services

Vagal Nerve Stimulation Devices (VNS Therapy)

If you suffer from uncontrolled seizures or epilepsy, you may be a candidate for a Vagal Nerve Stimulation Device, or VNS Therapy.

According to, VNS Therapy is the number one prescribed device for seizures
which has been used by over 100,000 people including more than 33,000 children across the globe. The VNS device has been in use since 1997 and is FDA approved for patients over age 4.  There are three models of VNS devices, ranging in technology to program and offer stimulation.

By implanting a small device into the vagus nerve that delivers regular pulses to your brain, this therapy stops seizures before they start or stops them if they do.

How Does the VNS Device Help Control Seizures?

The vagus nerve is part of the autonomic nervous system, which includes functions of the body that are not under voluntary control. This includes your heart rate or breathing.

Studies have found that the VNS device may help control seizures in three ways:

  1. By increasing blood flow in key brain areas
  2. Raising levels of some brain substances (neurotransmitters)
  3. Changing electrical patterns during a seizure

How Can VNS Therapy Help?

The VNS device is implanted under the skin with two small incisions in the chest and neck. This is an outpatient procedure lasting less than two hours, meaning you can return home the same day.

Dr. Seth Tuwiner will adjust the settings of your VNS device and you don’t have to do anything to lessen the effects of seizures.  In fact, many are unaware that the device is even working.

Although you may still have seizures from time to time, VNS therapy is already programmed to deliver stimulation and offers:

  • Fewer seizures
  • Shorter seizures
  • Better recovery

Often before a seizure, you will have an accelerated heart rate or other symptoms. The VNS device can automatically detect if you are experiencing a seizure and adjust accordingly.

If you do become aware when a seizure is happening, you or a caregiver can swipe a magnet over the generator in the left chest area to send an extra burst of stimulation to the brain to help stop the seizure.

When should I see Dr. Seth Tuwiner?

If it has been difficult to control your seizures, VNS therapy may be right for you. Many patients still have epilepsy, but no longer have to worry about life-threatening seizures.

If you’re having trouble taking medications regularly or if you have other lifestyle issues managing seizures, talk to Dr. Seth Tuwiner.

You may also talk to your doctor if you have had head trauma, stroke, brain, tumor or other abnormal brain conditions an electroencephalogram (EEG) may detect. VNS therapy can be used to treat a number of these conditions.

Call our offices in Leesburg and Dulles, VA  today to schedule an appointment to learn more about VNS therapy.