Coming into hospital for your VNS surgery

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Man who has had a seizure lying on the floor with his head on a pillow. He is being supported by another person.

VNS stands for Vagal Nerve Stimulator.

It helps treat your epilepsy.

It is a device in your body that send signals to a nerve. It helps calm down your brain activity when you have a seizure.

Graphic of a battery with a red outline and one red bar to show it is running out

The battery on your VNS is low. 

Brunel at Southmead


You need to come to the hospital to have a new VNS battery.

Image of a patient sat at a desk being shown leaflets by a nurse in a purple uniform

Before your surgery, you will see the epilepsy nurses to make sure you are healthy and ready for surgery.  

An apple, red pepper, salmon, glass of water, and broccoli with a red cross over the top of the food and drink

You can't have food or drink before your surgery. 

A medicine cabinet full of medication with a green tick in the bottom right hand corner

You can have your normal medications. 

Brunel atrium

You will arrive at the hospital for your appointment at the time you have been told. 



A person in a wheelchair with another person standing behind. Both are smiling at the camera.

Your family or carer can support you. 




You will go to Medirooms. It is in the blue zone. 


Check in desk in the medirooms in an open waiting area with seats

You will check in at the desk. 

Medirooms waiting area



You will wait in the waiting room.

Your name will be called. 


Patient room with a bed in the middle of the room, two chairs, and medical equipment

A nurse or healthcare assistant will show you to your room. 

Patient in a hospital bed

You will wait in your room. This is your room for the rest of the day. 

Nurse in a purple uniform completing a paper checklist with a patient who is lying on a bed

The nurse will check you in. They will ask you lots of questions to check you are healthy for the surgery. 

Anaesthetist in light blue uniform wearing a theatre hat

The doctors and anaesthetist will see you in your room. 

Cannula in the back of a person's hand

You will have a cannula fitted to your hand or arm. 

Patient in a hospital bed being pushed by a porter in navy clothing

You will be taken to the theatres. 

Your family member or carer can get dressed into scrubs and come with you.

Patient wearing a hospital gown lying on a bed. An anaesthetist in blue uniform and a theatre hat is touching the patient's wrist.

The anaesthetist will give you medicines to help you sleep.

Person sleeping in a bed

You will have your VNS battery changed.

You will be asleep and won’t feel anything.

Person who has woken up, sitting up in bed rubbing their eyes

You will wake up in your hospital room.

Your family or carer can be there when you wake up.

Cannula in the back of a person's hand

You might have monitors on your arm when you wake up.

You might still have a cannula in your hand or arm.

A white bandage being wrapped around a person's arm

You will have a bandage on your chest.

Brown medicine bottle angled to pour medicine into a small white cup

If you feel sore, the nurses can give you medicine to help you.

A nurse standing up wearing a purple tunic smiling at the camera

Your nurse will look after you.

A piece of brown toast and a white mug

When you have woken up you can have something to eat and drink.

Red brick house with a white front door

When you are feeling well enough you can go home.

Diary page with the days from Monday to Sunday listed

Wear your bandage for one week.

Image of a shower head with water coming out

Keep your bandage dry when you shower.

A white bandage being wrapped around a person's arm

A nurse will take the bandage off.

Epilepsy nurse wearing a blue uniform checking the patient's VNS

You will see your epilepsy nurse to check the VNS.

If you have a learning disability or autism and have any questions, you can call the hospital learning disability and autism liaison team on 0117 414 1239.

© North Bristol NHS Trust This edition published December 2022. Review due December 2025. NBT003502 EASY READ

Coming into hospital for your VNS surgery