About t-VNS®

Information on transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation (t-VNS®)

Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation (t-VNS®) is a gentle and patient-friendly option for the treatment of epilepsies.

The vagus nerve is involved in the regulation of nearly all inner organs. Above all it affects areas of the brain which play a role in the onset, the course and the therapy of various neurological and psychiatric disorders.4,5

Cerbomed developed transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation (t-VNS®).

It uses the fact that a branch of the vagus nerve can be stimulated through the skin (transcutaneous) with electrical impulses, in areas of the outer ear (A).

This stimulation passes along particular nerve fibres (B) to reach the brainstem (C). As for invasive vagus nerve stimulation, this consecutively activates (as indicated by the green arrows) higher centres of the brain associated with an anti-convulsive (anti-seizure) effect.4,5,6

This stimulation is carried out with the transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulator NEMOS®.

References:

  1. Peuker ET, Filler TJ: The nerve supply of the human auricle. Clin Anat 2002;15:35-37.
  2. Nomura S, Mizuno N: Central distribution of primary afferent fibers in the Arnold’s nerve (the auricular branch of the vagus nerve): a transganglionic HRP study in the cat. Brain Res 1984;292:199-205.
  3. Gao XY, Rong P, Ben H, Liu K, Zhu B, Zhang S: Morphological and electrophysiological characterization of auricular branch of vagus nerve: Projections to the NTS in mediating cardiovascular inhibition evoked by the acupuncture-like stimulation; Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 2010, p 694.22.
  4. Beekwilder JP, Beems T: Overview of the clinical applications of vagus nerve stimulation. J Clin Neurophysiol 2010;27:130-138.
  5. Amar AP, Levy ML, Liu CY, Apuzzo MLJ: Vagus Nerve Stimulation; in Krames ES, Peckham PH, Rezai AR, (eds): Neuromodulation. London, Academic Press, 2009, pp 625-637.
  6. Vonck K, Boon P, Van RD: Anatomical and physiological basis and mechanism of action of neurostimulation for epilepsy. Acta Neurochir Suppl 2007;97:321-328.
Brainstem Diagram
Stimulus transmission via the vagus nerve from the ear to the brain.

  • A: Site of stimulation
  • B: Auricular branch of the vagus nerve
  • C: Brainstem
  • D: Green arrows illustrate transmission of the excitation and activation of the brain