What is responsive neurostimulation?

Responsive neurostimulation or RNS® is a device that directly stimulates the brain to help stop or control seizures. The system includes a stimulator implanted in the skull that is attached to one or two EEG leads. These leads are implanted in or on top of the brain where the seizures begin.  

Who can get this procedure?

This device is FDA approved for the treatment of adults with partial seizures. It should be used in people who:

  • Have seizures that do not respond to seizure medications, 
  • Have more than one location responsible for the seizures, and/or
  • Have seizures arising from important areas of the brain that can not be removed. 

How is this performed?

The stimulator is surgically placed into the skull by a neurosurgeon. The device is powered by a battery which has special technology that can detect and store a record of the brain's EEG. When the device identifies a seizure, it sends an electrical current to disrupt the seizure activity. A neurologist programs the device based on the patient's individual EEG and response. 

What is the outlook?

Between 30 and 39% of people who have had this procedure have important improvements in their seizure frequency or severity. It is not a cure for epilepsy. 

Resources

The RNS® device is built by Neuropace, Inc. Additional information for patients and physicians is available at their website.

Authored by: Joseph I. Sirven MD on 1/2014
Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN on 3/2014
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