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Vagus Nerve Stimulator Placement for Epilepsy

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The vagus nerve runs from your chest, up your neck and to your brain. Sending regular electrical impulses through this nerve by help prevent seizures in some people with epilepsy.

At the University of Miami Health System, vascular surgeons can carefully place a vagus nerve stimulator beneath the skin your chest and connect it via a wire to the nerve in your neck. This outpatient procedure is quick and may help provide seizure relief.


You may qualify for a vagus nerve stimulator if you:

  • Have focal epilepsy
  • Have seizures that are not controlled well with medication
  • Are older than age 4

What to Expect

Before your stimulator placement, you’ll need a physical exam to ensure you can safely undergo surgery. 

During surgery, you may receive general anesthesia and/or local anesthesia to numb the surgical area. If you are going to receive general anesthesia, you will need to avoid eating and drinking for eight hours before surgery and will need someone to drive you home after your procedure.

Once you are comfortable, your surgeon will make a small incision in your left chest and in your neck. They will place the nerve stimulator device, which is about the size of a pocket watch, in your chest beneath the skin. They will then guide a wire from the device up into your neck. Using the incision in your neck, your surgeon will attach the wire to the vagus nerve., 

When the device and wire are in place, your surgeon will close up the incisions. You will wake up in the post-anesthesia care unit where you will need to remain for about an hour for observation. You will then be able to go home. You should keep your incisions clean and dry and avoid strenuous activity.

A few weeks after your surgery, your neurologist will turn on the device and program it to deliver stimulation.

Why Choose UHealth?

Leading-edge imaging care in South Florida. Our doctors are also researchers discovering new ways to improve diagnosis and treatment. That means you can get some of today’s most promising advancements through clinical trials. You benefit from the latest developments that are fast-tracked from the lab to the bedside.

Advanced, hard-to-find procedures. Our doctors are committed to caring for every patient. That’s why they offer the latest treatments, including limb salvage, endovascular grafting and thoracic outlet decompression, to improve your blood flow. 

All the care you need, from one physician. Our vascular surgeons perform a wide range of procedures so you can have the same physician for any vascular care you need as your condition changes. Whether you need a stent replaced or a vein grafted, you can always turn to the doctor you trust.

Experienced doctors, reliable results. UHealth vascular surgeons perform hundreds of stent placements, angiograms and more every year. You can rely on their experience to help you avoid complications and have a positive outcome. 

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Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.