What is TMS Therapy?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an FDA-approved treatment for people with depression who have not seen satisfactory improvement from anti-depressant medications.
Using pulsed magnetic fields, TMS treats depression by stimulating the part of the brain believed to be involved in mood regulation.
TMS Therapy is noninvasive (TMS is a not a surgical intervention. It does not require any sedation or anesthesia) and nonsystemic (it targets only the portion of the brain involved in emotional regulation. It is not like medications, which circulate in the bloodstream).
The Neurovation center is proud to be able to offer this service through our newest addition to the team, Dr. John Woodall. Click here to learn more about Dr. Woodall and his background.
How Does TMS Work?
TMS is an outpatient procedure. The TMS technician applies a soft plastic coil to the patient’s scalp, sending magnetic pulses through the skull and 2-3 centimeters into the brain. The magnetic pulses stimulate specific parts of the brain with accuracy, ensuring only the tissue involved in mood regulation is targeted. The magnetic pulses used by TMS are so small they cannot be felt by the patient, and are similar to the ones used by a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine. When administered to the brain, these magnetic impulses produce a miniscule electrical current in the axon of neurons in the brain. The electrical currents cause the neurons in the brain to become active and lead to an increased release of neurotransmitters. Improved neurotransmission decreases depression. The typical course of treatment consists of 5 treatments per week over a 6 week period (30 treatments total), followed by 1 maintenance treatment per week for the next 6 weeks. Treatment sessions are usually 20-30 minutes in duration; most patients feel completely fine after sessions, and return to work or normal daily life.
Is TMS Therapy Right for Me?
While TMS therapy has been proven to be an effective treatment for depression, not all patients will benefit from it. Patients should be carefully monitored during the course of their treatment for worsening symptoms, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and/or unusual behaviors. Families and caregivers should be involved in monitoring the TMS patient, and be able to notify the patient’s treatment provider of any sudden changes in mood or behavior. Patients should discuss with their doctor the potential risks and benefits of TMS therapy, and make the best treatment decision for them.