The TMS treatment process stimulates the mood control center of the brain by targeting the area with fast, concentrated magnetic pulses that invigorate nerve cells and improve overall mood. This painless, convenient procedure allows the patient to relax in a chair while the treatment is in progress.
During the TMS procedure, a coil device is placed over the patient’s left frontal lobe(left DLPFC) to deliver magnetic pulses to the brain. These pulses cause electrical changes within the underlying brain circuitry. This procedure is non-invasive and relatively painless. Depending on the type of treatment, each treatment session takes about 20-40 minutes to perform, and patients can resume their regular activities immediately after each session. To achieve effective results, patients usually will need to be treated five days a week on weekdays for four to eight weeks, depending on the individual condition and response rate and condition.
The coil is applied near an area of the brain that controls mood regulation. The magnetic field produced by the procedure is roughly the same strength as an MRI scan.
A TMS session is usually administered by a doctor or Certified TMS Technician and does not require anesthesia. If side effects are detected, adjustments to the amount of stimulation can be made during the procedure.
Although treatment varies by individual, a typical treatment course consists of:
During treatment, patients relax in a treatment chair and remain awake and alert. The TMS Therapy device will deliver magnetic pulses to specific areas of your brain known to regulate mood. These pulses will feel like tapping on the scalp. The technician may make some adjustments if the tapping is uncomfortable. Mild headache or scalp discomfort is sometimes experienced at the site of stimulation during or after treatment. Over-the-counter analgesic may be taken to alleviate discomfort. If discomfort persists, the strength of the magnetic field pulses can be reduced to make treatment more comfortable.
After a treatment session, patients can immediately return to their normal routine, including driving. In clinical trials, most patients experienced a positive response to TMS Therapy by the fourth week of treatment. Some patients may experience results in less time, while others may take longer. It is important to continually discuss any depression symptoms with your TMS Technician
During the first TMS session, several measurements are made to ensure that the TMS coil will be properly positioned over the patient’s head. Once this is done, the TMS coil is suspended over the patient’s scalp. The TMS physician then measures the patient’s motor threshold, by administering several brief pulses. The motor threshold is the minimum amount of power necessary to make the patient’s thumb twitch and varies from individual to individual. Measuring the motor threshold helps the physician personalize the treatment settings and determine the amount of energy required to stimulate brain cells.
Once the motor threshold is determined, the coil is then brought forward so that it rests above the front region of the patient’s brain. Treatment is then commenced. During the treatment, patients will hear a series of clicking sounds and will feel a tapping sensation under the treatment coil. Motor threshold is not checked at every treatment but may be reassessed if there is concern it may have changed. Patients need to report if there is any change in their health status during the treatment.
Because it is important to determine how to most effectively administer your individual treatment, your first session may last up to an hour. You will be provided with earplugs to reduce the audible tapping sound that the device emits. You can bring your own headphones (providing they are not metal) and listen to music during your treatment.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a series of brief, repetitive magnetic pulses that are used to stimulate our brain cells. MagVenture TMS is used to treat depression for patients who have had no success with medication. According to studies, approximately 58% of patients respond positively to TMS therapy. The benefits of TMS treatment are a minimal side effects, non-invasive, and has been proven as a treatment for depression. TMS treatment includes four to six treatments that take less than an hour each day, five days a week. The way the TMS machine works is the patient is fitted for a cap on their head. Short pulses of magnetic energy are focused at the limbic system structures. Then the pulses trigger electrical charges, causing neurons to become active. Once the limbic system structures change, so do your emotional and behavioral patterns! This is why we need to do these treatments so frequently.
Patients with any type of non-removable metal in their heads (with the exception of braces or dental fillings), should not receive TMS. Failure to follow this rule could cause the object to heat up, move, or malfunction, and result in serious injury or death. The following is a list of metal implants that can prevent a patient from receiving TMS: