RNS System vs. VNS Therapy - What is the difference?

Only the RNS System records your seizure activity so your doctor can personalize your epilepsy treatment.

Only the RNS System records your seizure activity so your doctor can personalize your epilepsy treatment.

Key Differences

RNS vs. VNS Comparison Chart

Hear from people who have the RNS System and VNS Therapy

Courtney tried VNS therapy, but she achieved seizure control with the RNS System.

In 2008, she tried VNS Therapy, but it didn’t help with her seizures. It also affected her vocal cords when she tried to speak or sing. Now with the RNS System she is close to being seizure-free.

“To my amazement, the RNS System soon reduced the frequency and severity of my seizures… As my doctor has fine-tuned my medications, I’ve reached the point where I am close to being seizure-free.” -Courtney*

*Every person’s seizures are different and individual results will vary

Courtney tried VNS therapy, but she achieved seizure control with the RNS System.

In 2008, she tried VNS Therapy, but it didn’t help with her seizures. It also affected her vocal cords when she tried to speak or sing. Now with the RNS System she is close to being seizure-free. 

*Every person’s seizures are different and individual results will vary

“To my amazement, the RNS System soon reduced the frequency and severity of my seizures… As my doctor has fine-tuned my medications, I’ve reached the point where I am close to being seizure-free.” -Courtney*

How The RNS System Works

Seizures Start in Your Brain. That’s Where They Should Stop.

How the Neuropace RNS System Works

Monitors your brain activity 24 hours a day

Recognizes & Responds to your unique brain patterns to stop seizures

Records brain activity for your doctors to review

Monitors your brain activity 24 hours a day

Recognizes & Responds to your unique brain patterns to stop seizures

Records brain activity for your doctors to review

Talk to someone who has the RNS® System

Michael McKenna, MSW
Received the RNS System in 2008
Emily Pidgeon, LMSW
Received the RNS System in 2014

Frequently Asked Questions

Could I be a candidate for the RNS System if I already had the VNS Therapy?

Yes, having had VNS Therapy does not exclude you from being a candidate for the RNS System. The RNS System is for individuals aged 18 and older who have tried at least 2 antiseizure medications but still suffer from focal seizures that come from one or two areas of the brain.  There are many individuals who had VNS Therapy prior to receiving the RNS System. You can read about some of their stories by selecting the “Prior VNS” filter on the stories page. 

How is the RNS System different than VNS Therapy?

The RNS System is the only medical device that proactively responds to what’s happening in a patient’s brain to treat seizures at their source. You can read about more of the differences in the chart at the top of the page.

How does the RNS System work?

Similar to a pacemaker that monitors and responds to heart rhythms, the RNS® System is the first and only neurostimulation device that can monitor and respond to brain activity. The RNS® System constantly monitors brainwaves, detects unusual activity that may lead to a seizure, and responds within milliseconds by sending brief pulses to disrupt this unusual activity.

Who is a candidate for the RNS System?

The RNS System is for individuals aged 18 and older who have tried at least 2 antiseizure medications but still suffer from frequent and disabling partial onset seizures that come from one or two areas of the brain. Talk with your doctor to find out if the RNS System is right for you.

When should I consider the RNS System?

Studies have shown that if you have tried two antiseizure medications without achieving seizure control, there is a less than 5% chance that your seizures will be controlled on another medication.1 If you have failed two medications and still suffer from seizures, it may be time to ask your doctor about other treatment options, including the RNS System.

What are the side effects of the RNS System?

The primary side effects associated with the RNS System are those that are related to any surgical procedure, such as risk of infection or bleeding. However, the RNS System does not cause the chronic side effects that can be associated with many antiseizure medications such as dizziness, drowsiness, depression, or confusion. It also does not have the ongoing stimulation-related side effects that can be associated with vagus nerve stimulation, such as hoarseness, shortness of breath, sore throat, or coughing. Consult with your doctor about the full risks and benefits of the RNS System.

Does the effect of the RNS System wear off?

No. Experience over many years shows seizure reduction continues to improve over time2.

Does the RNS System procedure involve brain surgery?

When doctors talk about epilepsy surgery, or brain surgery, they are usually referring to a surgical operation that involves removing the part of your brain that is causing your seizures. Similar to traditional epilepsy surgery, the RNS System targets the part of your brain that is causing the seizures. However, unlike traditional epilepsy surgery, the RNS System is a reversible therapy implanted during a procedure that does not involve removing any brain tissue.

Will people be able to see that I have the RNS System?

Once the RNS System is implanted, it is not visible to you or anyone else.

Learn More about the RNS System

Learn More about the
RNS System

1Chen Z., et al. JAMA Neurology, 2018.
2Nair et al., Presented at AES 2018.