What is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)?
TMS therapy is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic pulses—similar to those of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine—to awaken parts of the brain that are underactive in people who suffer from depression. TMS does not involve medication. TMS is safe and FDA-approved for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder. Also, TMS may help to treat anxiety disorders.
How does TMS work?
A region of the brain called the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is underactive in people with depression, compared with people who are not depressed. TMS delivers electromagnetic pulses to this region of the brain and activates the neurotransmitters and receptors in this region of the brain.
What should I expect during TMS therapy?
In the initial session, we stimulate the brain with magnetic pulses to “map” or locate DLPFC and determine the level or strength of magnetic pulses required to achieve a therapeutic result. We will create a treatment plan based on your specific needs, which may change as your symptoms improve. Most people come in 5 days per week for 4-6 weeks.
During the TMS therapy sessions, you sit in a comfortable chair with the TMS equipment positioned at the desired location on your head. When you are ready, we activate the device, which delivers pulses of magnetism. Most patients feel a light tapping sensation on their forehead, during the magnetic pulses. The treatment typically lasts no more than 19 minutes and it can be done in as little as three minutes. We are with you during every single treatment session, and are always available should you have any questions or concerns.
TMS causes minimal side effects. Some patients have temporary, mild headaches during or after their sessions. The risk of seizure due to TMS is less than one tenth of one percent; this is less than the risk of seizures due to taking antidepressant medication. Patients can drive to and from appointments. You can continue to attend school or work during treatment.
Some people notice substantial improvements in their mood within the first week. Other patients notice a more gradual improvement.
Am I a good candidate for TMS?
We conduct a thorough evaluation to determine if TMS therapy is right for you.
Conditions that may prevent you from being a candidate for TMS include:
- Metal in or around your head (braces and dental fillings are safe)
- Epilepsy / Seizure Disorder
- Implanted cardioverter defibrillators
- Vagus nerve stimulators
Risks and Benefits of TMS Therapy
Before beginning treatment, people may want to weigh the risks and benefits of TMS therapy. TMS it is a safe, medication-free treatment. TMS has a high success rate and the results last after completion of treatment. In addition, TMS is covered by most health insurance. Side effects include headaches and a small risk of a seizure. Some also find the required number of treatments inconvenient.
How do I get started?
- Give us a call. .
- We will schedule a consultation and send you paperwork to fill out
- If you choose to use your insurance, we will request prior authorization for the treatment from your insurance company
- Begin treatment
TMS Questionnaire (pdf)
TMS Medication List (pdf)
Cartoon Flyer (pdf)
What is TMS animation (video):