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Trans-cutaneous Vagus nerve Stimulation (tVNS) 
The Science of Modulating the Nervous System

What is Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)?

 

The vagus nerve, the longest cranial nerve, runs from the brain through the neck to the organs in the chest and abdomen. It is a major component of the autonomic nervous system. Vagus nerve Stimulation (VNS) involves using a device to stimulate the vagus nerve with electrical impulses at specific frequencies and intensities. This results in multiple brain areas being activated upon VNS, including structures of the central autonomic network (sympathetic and parasympathetic systems) and the limbic system (responsible for emotions).  

 

What conditions can be treated with VNS?

- Epilepsy and depression: The UK health authorities and the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved vagus nerve stimulation for people with resistant epilepsy (FDA,1997) and severe depression (FDA,2005).

- Stroke: The FDA approved VNS for strokes rehabilitation.

- Obesity: The FDA approved VNS for obesity management.

- Autoimmune conditions,

- Inflammatory bowel disease,

- POTS,

- Bipolar disorder,

- Heart failure,

- Alzheimer's disease,

- Chronic pain,

- Tinnitus,

- Anxiety,

- PTSD,

- Autism and ADHD to enhance cognitive and social functioning,

- Chronic fatigue, including post covid syndrome.

 

How is it done?

Previously VNS can only be achieved by implanting an electrical pulse generator under the skin and connecting its wires to the vagus nerve. This is similar to implanting a heart pacemaker. With the recent advances in technology it is now feasible to stimulate the vagus nerve without surgery. Transcutaneous auricular Vagus Nerve Stimulation (taVNS) involves the application of electrical currents through surface electrodes applied to the outer ear.  Transcutaneous cervical Vagus Nerve Stimulation (tcVNS) targets the vagus nerve in the neck. The choice between stimulating the vagus nerve in the ear or neck is dependant on the clinical situation. Neck vagus nerve stimulation carries a slight risk which needs to be assessed by the clinician carefully. 

We will inform you of the duration of the procedure which is dependant on the cause. Roughly from 15 - 45 minutes. We will also increase the intensity of the stimulation but will remain below the intensity that may cause any discomfort. 

Is it safe?

 

Unlike surgically-implanted VNS, transcutaneous VNS is a low-risk option to modulate the vagus system.

Over the last decade, several researchers have demonstrated the safety and tolerability of this method, including central and peripheral nervous system effects. Unlike implantable VNS, side-effects of taVNS are minimal, with skin irritation or redness being the most common side-effect. Headache and dizziness have also been rarely observed with prolonged intense stimulation. 

However there are conditions that may increase the risk of VNS. These conditions are:

- Certain heart conditions and medication that may cause slow heart rate. 

- People with pacemakers or any electrically implantable devices. 

How long does it take and how many sessions do I need?

The duration of the session for VNS is about 15-45 minutes and can be repeated 3-5 times a week for 2-6 weeks. 

Why choose us?

- At Leicester Ozone clinic we use two forms of noninvasive forms of VNS: transcutaneous auricular Vagus Nerve Stimulation (taVNS) and transcutaneous cervical Vagus Nerve Stimulation (tcVNS). The choice depends on the clinical situation. 

- Our protocol for delivering VNS is well researched. We have carefully studied what works best. Our devices are Uk manufactured medical devices designed for vagal nerve stimulation. We choose the stimulation parameters (electrical pulse frequencies, pulse intensity, polarities and stimulation times) that give the best results. The doctor at Leicester Ozone Clinic will determine the optimal stimulation sites and parameters for stimulation based on your clinical presentation. 

 

Cost:

The cost of each session is £250. For packages please check our pricing section. 

Booking:

VNS may not be suitable for everyone. If you would like to book a session please contact Dr Hamad first on 0116 4887848 for a quick chat to confirm you are suitable for this procedure. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions that you can not find the answers to on the website. Alternatively, please email us your details to contact@leicester-ozone.co.uk then we can arrange your initial appointment. 

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