Traditional TMS

The following is information on Traditional TMS. We do not perform traditional TMS at CNS. Although Traditional TMS is very effective, fMRI-guided TMS is a completely novel and state-of-the-art approach to treating psychiatric conditions. For information on this, please click here for fMRI-guided TMS

What is it?
TMS stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. It is a safe and effective procedure used to treat major depressive disorder. The TMS device delivers low-intensity magnetic pulses to the scalp in order to stimulate specific brain regions and ameliorate depressive symptoms. TMS is widely accepted and offered by many psychiatric practices and university medical centers.


Who is TMS good for?
Traditional TMS is FDA-approved for depression. TMS can be particularly good for people who have hit a roadblock or had limited success with traditional psychiatric treatment (e.g. medications, psychotherapy, groups, exercise, intensive or residential programs, etc). It can also be particularly useful for people who have had many adverse effects to medications, because it has very few side effects. It can also be useful for people who have had only partial success to medications but still feel held back by their psychiatric condition (or not living up to their potential).


How effective is it?
TMS is very effective. Although there are many different machines and strategies being used, it is probably about 40-60% effective for depression, which is more than double the rate for SSRI medications. More importantly, roughly 50% of these patients go into complete remission for over 1 year. fMRI-guided TMS is significantly more effective than traditional TMS because sophisticated brain imaging is used to locate brain regions specific to the individual patient. Traditional TMS uses a “general rule of thumb” to locate the target area.


How new is it?
Although TMS is not new, the technology has been rapidly advancing in recent years. It’s been used in research since 1985, was approved in Canada/Australia in 2002, and FDA approved in the US since 2008.


How does a patient get it?
A TMS-certified physician, usually a psychiatrist, will conduct an examination in order to assess whether a patient is a good candidate. The patient sits in a specialized chair with the TMS device overhead and will feel a light pinging on their scalp while in the chair.


How long is the treatment and how long does it last?
The typical course of treatment for traditional TMS is daily cialis generique sessions (Mon-Fri), for 6 weeks. Each session is about 40 minutes. The effects last anywhere from 1-3 years, depending on the patient. fMRI-guided TMS, because it is focused and more precise, is typically faster (usually 4 weeks).


Is it safe? Are there side effects?
TMS is exceptionally safe, with very few side effects. This is mainly because the magnetic pulses are delivered to very small & precise areas of the brain (in contrast to a pill, which travels throughout the blood, brain, and body). The main side effect is a possible mild initial headache. Many patients don’t get it at all, but for the ones who do – it usually subsides in the first few days and can be simply treated with tylenol or ibuprofen.


Can you remain on medications?
Yes. A significant advantage to TMS is that patients can remain on their current medical and psychiatric prescriptions throughout treatment. This is in contrast to older brain stimulation technologies, when patients had to discontinue many of their medications.


How much does it cost and is it covered by insurance?
Some insurance companies partially cover TMS. Patients must inquire with their specific insurance to determine coverage. Sometimes the TMS facility will assist with this. If paid out-of-pocket, because treatment is so frequent (daily), a month of treatment can cost upwards of $9-10,000. Many times insurance companies will reimburse for about 50% of the cost.