Vagal Nerve Stimulator (VNS)

What is VNS Therapy?

VNS (Vagal Nerve Stimulation) is a non-drug treatment option. Approved for use in treatment-resistant epilepsy and in treatment-resistant depression, VNS Therapy delivers long-term benefits to patients who have not responded well to other treatment options.

A VNS device, similar to a pacemaker, is implanted in the body by a surgeon. The device is attached to a stimulating wire that is threaded along a nerve called the Vagus Nerve. The Vagus Nerve travels up the neck to a part of the brain thought to regulate mood. Once the device is implanted it provides regular electrical impulses to the Vagus Nerve. After the device is implanted, visits to a doctor are required to adjust the ‘dose’ of the stimulator pulse.

VNS Therapy is indicated for use as an adjunctive (add-on) long-term treatment of chronic or recurrent depression for individuals 18 years of age or older who are experiencing a major depressive episode and have not had an adequate response to four or more adequate antidepressant treatments.

How does it work for depression?

Sometimes medications alone do not adequately relieve depression, or they relieve depression for a period of time, but then stop working. If multiple treatments, including psychotherapy, have not adequately or continuously relieved your symptoms of depression, VNS Therapy may be a long-term treatment option.

USF Psychiatry does not provide surgical service to implant a VNS device, however, we do provide post-implant adjustment and maintenance.

How can I make an appointment:

For more information or to make an appointment you call us at: (813) 974-8328 or (813) 974-8900.
Alternatively, you may email us at

Where is the USF Neurotherapies located? Directions:

The USF Neurotherapies Clinic is located at