What is TMS Therapy?
TMS Therapy is a non-invasive, non-drug treatment for depression based on repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), which delivers magnetic pulses via an insulated magnetic coil placed on the head. The pulses stimulate nerve cells in the part of the brain controlling mood, which is often underactive in patients with depression. Repeated stimulation of this part of the brain has been proven to produce an antidepressant effect on people suffering from depression.
How is TMS Therapy conducted?
TMS Therapy is an in-office treatment that takes about 20 minutes or longer, depending on the individual’s need. TMS is performed while the patient reclines comfortably in a treatment chair listening to music, watching videos, or meditating. It is administered five days a week, for up to six weeks. The patient can immediately resume normal activities after each session.
Who can get the treatment?
TMS Therapy is FDA-approved for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in adult patients who have failed to receive satisfactory improvements from prior antidepressant medication in the current episode. You are also a good candidate if you could not tolerate the side effects of antidepressants, or are looking for a medication-free, safe, and FDA-cleared treatments for depression.
How does the treatment feel?
During treatment, you will hear a clicking sound, and feel a tapping sensation on your head. Many patients will be able to watch television or read a magazine during treatment.
Can I take antidepressant medication while receiving TMS?
Yes. TMS Therapy can be safely used, with or without antidepressant medications.
Is TMS treatment safe, and are there any side effects?
Since receiving FDA approval in 2008, over a million TMS treatments have been performed safely with minimal side effects. TMS is without the side effects typically experienced with antidepressants. At the beginning of the treatment course, some patients report mild discomfort or a headache, but you should be able to resume your daily activities right after treatment.
What is the difference between TMS and ECT?
During TMS, patients are awake and alert throughout the entire process. They can travel unaccompanied to and from their treatment sessions. TMS does not cause the brain to seize or any memory impairment.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), on the other hand, requires inducing a seizure to exert its therapeutic effect, and it has to be delivered under general anesthesia. Short-term confusion and memory loss are common. Because of the anesthesia risks, cognitive impairment, pre-operative preparation, and post-operative recovery, ECT is more invasive, and therefore less attractive as a treatment option. People who failed to respond to ECT can still benefit from TMS treatment.
How long do TMS treatment results last?
Treatment results vary patient to patient, but the majority of participants retain some reduction of their depression symptoms for over 12 months.
Will my insurance cover TMS Therapy?
TMS Therapy is covered to treat Major Depressive Disorder by most private insurers, and by Medicare and TRICARE. Please see our insurance page for more information on which plans we accept.
What if I don’t have insurance?
If you do not have insurance that will cover TMS Therapy, our fee is $300 for the initial motor threshold determination and treatment, and then $250 for each subsequent treatment. Patients will also need to complete a psychiatric evaluation with Dr. Yang prior to starting treatment to assess whether you are a candidate for TMS as this is a medical procedure. If you are not using insurance, our fee for this assessment is $200.