TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation. It is used to treat depression by stimulating the brain non-invasively using electromagnetic fields, similar to those produced by an MRI machine. During TMS Therapy, a magnetic field is administered in very short pulses to the part of the brain that research has demonstrated to be associated with depression. The typical initial course of treatment is about 19-37 minutes daily over 4-6 weeks.
The TMS Therapy system uses short pulses of magnetic fields to stimulate the area of the brain that is thought to function abnormally in patients with depression. The magnetic field produces an electric current in the brain that stimulates the brain cells (neurons). This results in changes that are thought to be beneficial in the treatment of depression.
Many commercial and Medicare plans have recognized the effectiveness of treating depression with TMS Therapy and now cover TMS as part of their plans. TMS Therapy is widely reimbursed by most commercial and government health plans, including Medicare.
TMS Therapy is non-systemic (does not circulate in the blood throughout the body), so it does not have side effects such as 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 therapeutic benefit. The intensity of the magnetic field is similar to that of the magnetic fields used in magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. These techniques differ radically from the popular use of low intensity, static magnetic fields. These products deliver weak and undirected static fields that are not capable of activating brain cells.
TMS is not ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) targets key areas of the brain that are underactive in people with depression. Unlike ECT, TMS does not require the use of anesthesia and person will remain awake during the treatment.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) uses a targeted pulsed magnetic field, similar to what is used in an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine. While the patient is awake and alert, TMS Therapy stimulates areas of the brain that are underactive in depression.