Depression treatment question: Does anyone know about vagus nerve stimulation for depression?
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an adjunctive treatment for certain types of intractable epilepsy and clinical depression. VNS uses an implanted stimulator that sends electric impulses to the left vagus nerve in the neck via a lead implanted under the skin. The VNS device consists of a titanium encased generator about the size of a pocket watch; a lithium battery to fuel the generator, with a battery life of ~6-8 years; a lead system with electrodes; and an anchor tether to secure leads to the vagus nerve. The device is made by Cyberonics, Inc. Implantation of the VNS device is usually done as an out-patient procedure. The procedure goes as follows: an incision is made in the upper left chest and the generator is implanted into a little “pouch” on the left chest under the clavicle. A second incision is made in the neck, so that the surgeon can access the vagus nerve. The surgeon then wraps the leads around the left branch of the vagus nerve, and connects the electrodes to the generato