Dubai Doctors treat Epileptic Seizures using Smart Implant under the chest skin.

Emirati teen with drug-resistant epileptic seizures can hope to live a normal life with fewer seizures after an advanced device was placed under the skin of her chest.

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Maha Hadid
Maha Hadid is a Beirut based health writer and a medical journalist currently working full time with HealthWeek Arabia. Maha's work has been published by The Newyork Times, Washington Post, and The Atlantic. Maha can be reached:

Article at a glance:

  • Fourteen-year-old teen gets an implant to help her fight drug-resistant epileptic seizures
  • The Vegal Nerve Stimulator (VNS) sends mild but regular electrical energy impulses through the vagus nerve to the brain
  • This is the first time the advanced device is used outside North America and Europe.

A fourteen-year-old Emirati girl has been suffering from drug-resistant epileptic seizures. However, with the help of a high-tech implant device under her chest skin, she is now ready to live a seizure-free life. After a series of studies, the teen was certified the best candidate by Dubai Rashid Hospital doctors for the advanced smart implant nicknamed ‘the pacemaker for the brain.’ 

The implant, which is the size of a coin, is located under the chest skin. The teen is getting ready for the programming of the device to lower the frequency of her seizures. In the event of a seizure, the implant will also reduce the recovery time. Rashid Hospital consultant and head of neurosurgery, Dr. Abdulla Qassim, explain how the device works: 

Dr. Abdulla Qassim, Rashid Hospital consultant and head of neurosurgery,

“The Vegal Nerve Stimulator (VNS) device sends mild but regular electrical energy impulses through the vagus nerve to the brain. This will help to keep the epileptic seizures in check. Notwithstanding the sophistication of the mechanism, the patient will be unaware of the implant under their skin”. 

This nerve stimulator device nicknamed ‘pacemaker for the brain’ is one of the most advanced in the world. Vagus nerve stimulation involves the use of a device to stimulate the vagus nerve with electrical impulses. A vagus nerve stimulator is FDA-approved to treat epilepsy and depression.

Anti-seizure drugs do not work for every patient

Anti-seizure drugs are used in the management of epileptic seizures. Sadly, Dr. Muhammad Al Kaylani, a consultant neurologist and epileptologist at Rashid Hospital, mentions that it is not effective in about one-third of epileptic patients. VNS is suitable for patients who are not qualified to undergo certain kinds of epilepsy surgeries. Further explaining the device, Dr. Al Kaylani said, 

“VNS is a self-intelligent and smart implant and the most advanced of its kind. Rashid Hospital is the first centre outside of North America and Europe to use the newest generation of VNS. Also, when there is a severe or repeated seizure, this implant will keep emergency room visits of such patients at a minimum. Overall, the VNS implant significantly boosts the patient’s alertness, quality of life, and mood.” 

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