Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an advanced procedure used to treat the symptoms of depression in patients whose condition has not improved through other traditional approaches. Depression is a major medical condition that affects millions of people of all ages and backgrounds, causing feelings of sadness and hopelessness, and a loss of interest in everyday activities, among other troubling symptoms. Manufactured by NeuroStar, TMS Therapy® works to treat depression by stimulating cells within the brain with magnetic fields to stimulate activity and release neurotransmitters which changes the way the brain works.
While there are many treatment options available for combating the symptoms of depression, they often do not fully treat the condition, can cause serious side effects or may require lengthy and painful procedures. TMS Therapy offers a safe, noninvasive and FDA-cleared treatment for patients with Major Depressive Disorder.
Benefits of TMS
This procedure is considered ideal for patients whose depression has been resistant to other forms of treatment, such as life changes, psychotherapy and medication. By targeting only the brain, and not the entire body, TMS Therapy is effective for nearly all patients, including those who are suffering from postpartum depression and currently breastfeeding. This treatment will not affect your child in anyway, as it remains localized within the brain.
Unlike other depression treatments, such as medications, TMS is not associated with the common side effects of weight gain, sexual problems, sleepiness or memory loss. It is also much less invasive than deep brain stimulation, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other alternative treatment options for depression.
Although TMS has only been cleared so far for treatment of depression, there is evidence that this procedure can be effective for treatment of a wide range of brain disorders, including dystonia, migraines, Parkinson’s disease and obsessive compulsive disorder. Researchers are currently working to determine the safety and effectiveness of TMS treatment for these conditions.
During the TMS procedure, a coil device is placed over the patient’s head to deliver magnetic pulses to the brain. These pulses are thought to cause electrical changes within the neurons of the left prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that regulates mood.
This procedure is completely painless and noninvasive, performed similarly to an MRI scan of the brain. Each treatment session takes about 30 minutes to perform, and patients can resume their regular activities immediately after each session. To achieve effective results, patients will need to undergo multiple visits each week for three to six weeks, depending on their individual condition.
Results of TMS
After a full course of treatment, patients usually notice a significant reduction in depression symptoms, as well as improvements in anxiety, appetite, pain and lack of energy. In clinical trials of over 10,000 treatments, approximately one out of every three patients experienced complete symptom relief after a six week treatment.
Although effective, the results of TMS treatment are usually temporary and may only last for a few weeks or months. If symptoms return, patients may undergo additional treatment sessions in order to prolong the results.
Risks of TMS
While TMS is a safer and less invasive alternative to other brain stimulation procedures, there are certain risks associated with any type of treatment. In rare cases, structural changes to the brain may occur, although the long-term effects of these changes are not yet known. Most patients undergo TMS with no major risks or complications.
Common side effects of TMS include:
- Facial spasms
- Scalp discomfort
It is important to notify your doctor if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms or complications after treatment with TMS, such as seizure, mania or hearing problems.
To learn more about the advanced benefits of treatment with TMS, and to find out whether or not this procedure is right for you, please call us today to schedule a consultation with your doctor.