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J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2010 Feb;5(2):191-4. doi: 10.3171/2009.9.PEDS0810.

Complete removal of vagus nerve stimulator generator and electrodes.

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Clinical Department of Neurosurgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.


Vagus nerve stimulation has become widely used in the palliative treatment of refractory epilepsy. Removal of a vagus nerve stimulator may be desirable or even necessary due to lack of efficacy, intolerable side effects, signs of infection, or failure of the device. Unless the lead or the helical electrodes are defective, only the generator is explanted and the electrodes are usually left behind for fear of damaging nerve or surrounding structures. The authors review their experience with complete removal of the stimulating electrodes and pacemaker-like generator device in 9 consecutive patients, 3 of whom were children. Using microsurgical techniques, the authors were able to completely remove the stimulator, including electrodes in all patients. All nerves remained morphologically intact. One case of temporary and one of permanent clinically silent ipsilateral vocal cord paresis were observed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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