We know you probably have one or two questions about TMS therapy. Let us help!
1. What is TMS?
TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) uses a targeted magnetic field to stimulate areas of the brain that control mood and are thought to be under-active in people with depression.During a treatment session, our technician will gently place an insulated magnetic coil on your forehead over the area of the brain believed to be under-active. The coil emits brief magnetic pulses that stimulate cortical neurons in this area to help them return to normal function over the course of treatment and effectively treat your depressive illness.
2. What is the typical course of treatment?
TMS therapy is an in-office treatment that takes 20 minutes and is performed while you sit in a chair. It's administered five days a week, for four to up to six weeks.
During each session, you'll recline comfortably in the treatment chair, awake and alert, while the TMS device delivers focused magnetic stimulation directly to the target areas of your brain. There is a TV available with on-demand services if you would like to watch your favorite show while receiving treatment.
You'll be able to resume normal activities immediately after each session.
3. Is TMS therapy safe?
Clinical trials of 10,000 treatments proved the safety of TMS therapy in treating patients who have had an inadequate response to prior antidepressant medications. Since receiving FDA approval in 2008, over 2,150,000 TMS treatments have been performed safely with minimal side effects.
4. What are the side effects of TMS?
TMS therapy is free from the side effects often felt with medications. The most common side effect of TMS therapy is pain or discomfort around the treatment area, which usually goes away within a week.
5. Am I a good candidate for TMS?
You are a good candidate for TMS if you:
- Have been identified with depression and have not benefited from prior medication
- Have had side effects from antidepressant medications
- Are searching for a medication-free depression solution
- Want the safety of an FDA-cleared depression solution
- Want to get help
The best way to know if TMS is right for you is to fill out this Depression Questionnaire:
6. What is the difference between TMS and ECT?
During TMS, patients sit in a chair and are awake and alert throughout the entire procedure. Since there is no sedation, patients can travel unaccompanied to and from their treatment sessions. TMS is a non-convulsive procedure and has been shown to have no negative effects on memory function.
In contrast, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), also referred to as “shock therapy,” is invasive and requires inducing a seizure to exert its therapeutic effect. Therefore, it has to be delivered under general anesthesia. Short-term confusion and memory loss are common but generally mild and transient side effects. Anesthesia risks, cognitive side effects, pre-operative fasting, and post-operative recovery can all make ECT a less attractive treatment option.
7. Does TMS cause memory loss?
No. TMS therapy was systematically evaluated for its effects on memory. Clinical trials demonstrated that TMS therapy does not result in any negative effects on memory or concentration.
8. Does TMS cause brain tumors?
No. TMS therapy uses the same strength and type of magnetic fields as MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), which have been used for tens of millions of patients worldwide and have not been shown to cause tumors. The magnetic energy used in a full course of TMS therapy is only a small fraction of a single brain scan with an MRI.
9. How long do TMS treatment results last?
The majority of participants are remitted of their depression symptoms for over 12 months.
10. What happens if I need more treatments?
Most patients don’t require additional treatments after the initial 36-treatment protocol. Some come in for “boosters” after six months or a year. Boosters consist of 3 or 4 treatments, not the entire 36-treatment protocol. Depending on your insurance, these might be covered.
11. Can I take antidepressant medication while receiving TMS?
Yes. TMS therapy can be safely used with or without antidepressant medications.
12. How soon will I be able to come off medications?
Every patient is different, and many factors affect how soon you’ll be able to come off your medications, including your current dosage, the length of time you’ve been on the medications, etc. Your prescribing physician will work with you to determine when you can stop taking them.
13. I have anxiety, OCD, PTSD, or tinnitus. Will TMS help this too?
Many patients have benefited from TMS treatments for anxiety, OCD, tinnitus, PTSD, and other behavioral health modalities. Please contact our Patient Relations Center to discuss payment options for these off-label treatments.
14. Will my insurance cover TMS Therapy?
TMS Therapy is covered to treat major depressive disorder by most private insurers and by Medicare and TRICARE
15. How old does my child have to be to receive treatment?
FDA approval spans 18- to 64-year-old patients. Insurance providers have no age limit for adults 18 and over. In certain circumstances, we have been able to treat younger patients with psychiatrist approval and special agreements with insurance providers.