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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS therapy is an in-office treatment that takes 30-45 minutes per day and is performed while the patient sits in a chair, and is administered five days a week for up to four to six weeks. TMS is indicated for adult patients who have not achieved satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medications in the current depressive episode.

Simple Steps for TMS Therapy:

The patient reclines comfortably in a treatment chair, awake and alert. A small curved device containing magnetic coil rests lightly on the patient’s head. The device delivers focused magnetic stimulation directly to the target areas of the brain. During the treatment, the patient hears a clicking sound and feels a tapping sensation to the head. The most common side effect is generally mild to moderate pain or discomfort at or near the are being treated during the session. There are no effects on alterness or understanding; patients being treated with TMS therapy can drive themselves to and from the treatment sessions.

Frequently asked questions about the TMS Therapy

What happens during TMS therapy? What is the mechanism of action?

During the TMS therapy, pulsed magnetic fields are repetitvely transmitted into the left prefontal cortex, the part of the brain that is thought to regulate mood, in order to stimulate the firing of neurons (nerve cells). This is believe to trigger a cascade of neurochemical events, including the release of neurotransmitters (such as seratonin, norepinephrine and dopamine) and to help normalize neutrotransmitter function.

What is the risk of TMS therapy?

TMS therapy should not be used by anyone who has magnetic-sensitive metal in their head or within 12 inches from the magnetic coil that cannot be removed. Objects that may be this kind of metal are aneurysm clips or coils, stents, implanted simulators, electrodes to monitor brain activity, bullet fragments, facial tattoos with metal in or permanent makeup. The TMS therapy should be used with caution in  patients who have pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD’s).

Is TMS therapy intended to replace antidepressant medications?

Multiple treatment options are needed to address the significant unmet need in the treatment of depression. Currently there are few options for patients who have had an inadequate response in previous antidepressant treatments. TMS therapy is not like to displace the need for other antidepressant treatment options but it provides patients with a non-invasive, non-systemic treatment alternative for patients who have failed to benefit from their initial treatment.

If you are interested in finding out more information on TMS therapy, please call 1-800-HELP-912 or 229-312-7001 to schedule an appointment.