INTRODUCTION: Neuromodulation devices can be safe and effective for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy. A body of scientific work supports peripheral, subcortical and cortical targets, each with different fundamental methods of action. Areas covered: High-quality evidence is available for vagal nerve stimulation (VNS), deep brain stimulation (DBS), and responsive neurostimulation (RNS). Mechanistic research in animals and human studies are reviewed, along with key data from VNS, DBS, and RNS clinical trials. Specifically, the authors review some of the science behind the most frequently used medical devices for neuromodulation, the evidence that lead to their adoption, a delineation of the populations that often benefit from these devices, and perspectives on clinical practice to optimize benefit in treatment of seizures. Expert Commentary: Neuromodulation is increasingly used to complement medical management of refractory epilepsy. Device preference will be made on the basis of patient preference, physician familiarity and other individualized factors. Right now, the field is very new and decision-making will improve with experience.
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