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Vagus Nerve Stimulation


Tips & Tricks for more efficient procedures


Productivity in the office means more time for quality interaction, better outcomes and more satisfied patients.  Productivity gains can be found in administrative functions, personnel deployment and treatment.  For our part, we’ve looked at the devices we support and spoken to the clinicians that use them to identify areas where time can be saved.  After all, faster procedures usually mean happier patients and a happier practice.  


For the neurostimulation devices we support, we examined the installation and maintenance procedures performed by medical practices.  The minimally invasive Stivax system for instance relies on an external lead that connects the device to the two surgical steel needles that deliver current to the target nerve network.  With this procedure, an afferent branch of the vagus nerve is targeted in the patient’s upper ear, near the triangular fossa.  Once the needles are inserted into the skin and secured, the device delivers low level electrical current into and down the vagus nerve to help treat pain, circulatory issues and other conditions.  


In speaking to clinicians, we realized that locating the vagus nerve branch in the ear could prove challenging for a number of reasons.  Anatomical differences between patient’s ears, physical limitations of standard office equipment and other factors could contribute to a less than optimal device installation.  After listening and observing typical device application procedures, we sought to develop a productivity aid that could make locating the vagus nerve faster and easier.   The result was the Solace “Spotlight” Illuminator.  


With the “Spotlight,” we were looking for a few key capabilities.   The most important feature was a bright light capable of penetrating the thickest of ear tissues – thereby revealing the target vagus nerve network.  We knew the light should be focused into a narrow beam vs. a wide angle that would diffuse the light and make it less effective in penetrating the ear tissues.  We’ve also designed the aid with a flexible head – this allows the clinician to snake the illuminator behind the ear and mark the location for the insertion point.  Finally, we wanted to make sure the device would be easy to turn on and off and have a long life.  Selection of an LED for the light source extends the life of the device.  


Use of the Spotlight during the application of a neurostimulation device helps to ensure the device is installed quickly and as accurately as possible for better clinical results.  Over time, the operational benefits add up as well.  


 


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