In recent years, technology has provided doctors with effective means of treating difficult-to-control cases of epilepsy.
If you have intractable seizures that have not responded to medication, and you are not a suitable candidate for surgery, doctors may decide to treat your epilepsy with one of several sophisticated epilepsy devices.
There are several types of medical devices effective at controlling seizures:
- Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) – This type of device is used to prevent seizures by sending small electrical signals directly to your brain, via the vagus nerve in your neck. An electrical stimulator is inserted under your skin during a brief surgical procedure and provides the electrical signals to an outside magnet. The device resembles a cardiac pacemaker, but stimulates your brain instead of your heart. VNS is currently available to qualifying adults and children over the age of 12.
- Deep brain stimulator – This type of device may be used to prevent seizure activity by sending small electrical signals directly to your brain. A surgically implanted neurostimulator, implanted in specific areas within your brain, delivers the electrical signals.
- Responsive neurostimulator (RNS) – This type of device is used to disrupt seizures by detecting abnormal electrical activity in the brain and delivering electrical pulses to interrupt the beginning seizure. A surgically implanted neurostimulator, implanted in specific areas within your brain, detects the seizures and provides the electrical pulses in order to stop them.