What Is Brain-Responsive Neurostimulation?

Brain-responsive neurostimulation is a type of monitoring doctors use to prevent seizures caused by epilepsy. This type of stimulation responds to your brain's electrical activity to stop a seizure before it happens.

Brain-responsive neurostimulation prevents seizures by:

  • monitoring the electrical activity in your brain at all times, 
  • detecting any unusual activity in your brain that may lead to a seizure, and
  • delivering a small electrical pulse to your brain to prevent a seizure from happening.

Brain-responsive neurostimulation sends electrical pulses to your brain milliseconds after it detects any unusual brain activity that could cause a seizure. In this way, it gives you treatment when you need it—similar to how pacemakers work in the heart.

Responsive neurostimulation is sometimes called deep brain stimulation. The device that monitors your brain's activity and sends pulses is called RNS® or the Neuropace RNS® System. 

How Successful is Brain-Responsive Neurostimulation?

Many people have fewer seizures after having brain-responsive neurostimulation.

The RNS® System continues to work better over time:

  • After three years, most patients will have 60 percent fewer seizures.
  • After seven years, most patients will have 72 percent fewer seizures. 

Will Brain-Responsive Neurostimulation Make My Seizures Go Away Permanently?

No. RNS® won't make your seizures go away completely. But many people have at least a couple months without having any seizures at all.

Some people don't have seizures for a year or longer after having RNS®.

Who Should Get This Treatment?

Brain-responsive neurostimulation is best for adults who've tried at least two antiseizure medications but still get seizures often. Your seizures should also be serious and interfere with your daily activities.

Surgery

For most types of epilepsy surgery, brain surgeons need to remove the part of your brain that's causing seizures. But with brain-responsive neurostimulation, doctors don't need to remove part of your brain or any brain tissue. Instead, your doctor will implant the Neuropace device into the part of your brain that's causing seizures. 

The Neuropace device can then release an electrical pulse to that part of your brain to stop a seizure before it starts.

The Neuropace device is tiny. It also can't be seen once it's implanted.

RNS® is also reversible. Your doctor can turn the device off. You can also have surgery to remove the device if you would like. But you don't have to get the device surgically removed once you stop using it. That's because it's safe to leave the RNS® device inside your brain tissue.

Neuropace Surgery Recovery

Most patients stay in the hospital for one to two days after having surgery. You should be able to get back to most of your regular activities once you return home.

After the RNS® device is implanted, no one will be able to tell you have it because they won't be able to see it.

Next Steps

You can make an appointment with a neurologist if you've tried at least two antiseizure medications but still get seizures.

Fumisuke Matsuo, MD

Fumisuke Matsuo, MD is a long-time faculty member of the Department of Neurology. His main expertise as a clinical electroencephalographer is to develop and evaluate clinical neurophysiological testings in the assessment of episodic neurobehavior symptoms, and application to separating epileptic seizures from non-epileptic events. Recent research ... Read More

Specialties:

Neurology, EEG, Epilepsy, Intraoperative Monitoring, Seizures

Locations:

A location has not yet been added by this physician.

Angela Peters, MD

Patient Rating:

4.4

4.4 out of 5

Angela Peters, MD joined the Epilepsy Division as faculty in 2015. She currently holds a position as an assistant professor of neurology and is a diplomate of the American Academy of Neurology. She specializes in epilepsy and neurophysiology. She currently sees patients at the University of Utah with medically intractable epilepsy who might be surg... Read More

Specialties:

Deep Brain Stimulation, EEG, Epilepsy, Long Term Monitoring, Seizures

Locations:

Clinical Neurosciences Center 801-585-7575

John D. Rolston, MD, PhD

Dr. John Rolston is a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist at the University of Utah, where he is the Director of Epilepsy Surgery and Director of Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery. Clinically, he specializes in epilepsy surgery, deep brain stimulation (DBS) for movement disorders (Parkinson’s, dystonia, tremor), trigeminal neuralgia, and neuromo... Read More

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Salt Lake City, UT 84132
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(801) 585-7575
Imaging & Neurosciences Center 729 Arapeen Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Map
(801) 585-7575