Transcranial magnetic stimulation is an exciting, new, very effective, extremely safe, non-invasive, FDA approved, insurance covered treatment for Major Depression. Electromagnetic fields, similar to those produced by an MRI machine, are delivered in ultra short pulses to a part of the frontal lobe of the brain associated with mood and known to be underactive in depression. TMS is typically used when antidepressant medications haven’t been effective, have ceased working, or as an alternative to medication.
TMS involves delivering magnetic pulses to specific parts of the brain with a precise and consistent delivery of the recommended treatment dose.
A typical initial course of treatment is about 19-37 minutes daily over 4-6 weeks.
A vast majority of commercial and Medicare plans have recognized the effectiveness of treating depression with TMS Therapy and now cover TMS as part of their plans.
TMS does not circulate in the blood throughout the body, so it does not have side effects like weight gain, sexual dysfunction, nausea, dry mouth, sedation, etc. The most common side effects reported during clinical trials were headache and scalp discomfort —generally mild to moderate—occurring less frequently after the first week of treatment.
No. TMS Therapy involves a unique method of using pulsed magnetic fields for a therapeutic benefit. The intensity of the magnetic field is similar to that of an MRI. These techniques differ radically from the popular use of low intensity, static magnetic fields. Those products deliver weak and undirected static fields that are not capable of activating brain cells. The activation and stimulation of brain cells is a key part of why TMS is so effective.
Patients can feel the magnet pulsing, which can be uncomfortable for some, but most patients say the treatment is not painful. It’s described as a “firm tapping” or “woodpecker pecking” on their heads.
Some patients begin to experience benefits of improved mood, sleep, or energy, as well as decreased pain almost immediately. Most patients experience benefits within 2-3 weeks from the start of treatment, although some may not notice effects for a month or even longer.
Many clinical trials post FDA approval have shown TMS to be extremely safe. The most common side effect is scalp discomfort during the treatment, which is experienced as a tapping sensation on the head. Mild headaches or fatigue can sometimes occur. Patients with Bipolar Disorder can see induction of mania, a risk also present with antidepressant medication. An uncommon increase in anxiety is easily managed with a change in the treatment pulse protocol. The most serious side effect is the rare incidence of seizure that can be induced during the treatment, which occurs at a rate of less than 1 in 30,000 treatments with the NeuroStar machines used at our clinic.
The NeuroStar TMS system offers the most advanced platform for doctors and technicians to deliver treatment compared to other TMS devices. It is the only system with contact sensors built into the magnet so that the technicians can know that the magnet is always in as close contact with the head as possible. It also has the most sophisticated magnet positioning system available to ensure reliable, repeatable positioning. TMS machines use a lot of energy, and can overheat with repeated use. The patented design of the iron core NeuroStar magnet and built-in air-cooling fan allow us to remain operational all day without interruption. NeuroStar is the only TMS machine made in America and has the largest designated field service team to keep us up and running without interruption in treatment, preventing patient down time.
Yes. In clinical trials, TMS Therapy was safely administered with and without other antidepressant medications.