What Is The Surgery Like ?
The surgeon first makes an incision along the outer side of the chest on the left side, and the device is implanted under the skin. Then a second incision is made horizontally in the lower neck, along a crease of skin, and the wire from the stimulator is wound around the vagus nerve in the left side of the neck. The brain itself is not involved in the surgery.
The device (also called an implant) is a flat, round battery, about the size of a silver dollar—that is, about an inch and a half (4 cm) across—and 10 to 13 millimeters thick, depending on the model used. Newer models may be somewhat smaller.
The procedure usually lasts about 50 to 90 minutes with the patient under general anesthesia. Sometimes a hospital stay of one night is required. Some surgeons have performed the procedure with local anesthesia and the patient has been discharged the same day.
Brachial Plexus Injuries
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that conducts signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Brachial plexus injuries are caused by damage to those nerves. Symptoms may include a limp or paralyzed arm, lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist, and lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand.
include possible surgical injury to the vagus nerve, carotid artery, and internal jugular vein.
Many patients experience 50% reduction in seizure frequency, and seizures are less severe. Vagus nerve stimulation eliminates seizures in approximately 15% of patients, according to some studies, and a small number experience no improvement.
include coughing, hoarseness, and swallowing difficulties resulting from injury to the vagus nerve. Infection, bleeding, and discomfort at the site can occur. There may be tingling in the neck, hoarseness, and a slight cough during nerve stimulation.
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