What is Deep TMS?
dTMS stands for “Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.” When the pulses are given in succession, it is referred to as “repetitive TMS”. dTMS is a medical procedure that works by delivering highly focused MRI-strength magnetic pulses to noninvasively (without surgery) stimulate the brain. The treatment session is conducted using a helmet called a “coil” that delivers energy to the brain using pulsed “magnetic fields.” These magnetic fields are similar to those used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. Patients being treated with dTMS do not require anesthesia or sedation. They remain awake and alert and return to work or their daily routine immediately after each treatment.
Am I a Good Candidate?
The best way to determine if dTMS is right for you is by speaking with your doctor, psychiatrist, or qualified health care professional. Proper screening and clinical evaluation ensures that dTMS is administered only when it is medically necessary.
In order to ensure your safety, the following general requirements will need to be met prior to receiving treatment:
Currently diagnosed with depression or OCD by a psychiatrist, physician, or qualified health care professional
No recent history of seizures or metallic/magnetic implants (i.e., pacemaker, wires, cochlear implants most dental work is safe)
Do I Need to Continue to See My Current Providers?
Yes. During your course of dTMS therapy, you will continue your regularly scheduled appointment(s) with your treating provider as they will continue to follow you and prescribe your ongoing medications. Any changes made to your medications during treatment should be reported to the TMS Coordinator as soon as possible.
Is TMS Covered by Insurance?
Yes! Many insurance companies in Massachusetts cover TMS. Neural Health Therapies will work with you and your insurance company to explore your current benefits and obtain prior authorization for your treatment. Most insurance plans require at least 4 trials of previous antidepressants that have been either ineffective or have been stopped due to side effects.
What are the Benefits of dTMS?
Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation:
Treatment that does not involve medications or surgery
Treatment occurs on an outpatient basis
No interruption to daily schedule, only 20 minutes per day
No undesirable effects on cognition
Few or no side effects (most common side effects are a mild headache and/or scalp discomfort)
Safe and tolerable
Statistically and clinically proven to relieve depression symptoms
Patients do NOT have to stop taking medication in order to receive dTMS
How Often Will I Receive dTMS?
Generally, the initial course (acute phase) of treatment will involve at least 20 consecutive treatment sessions over a 4-week period. This occurs Monday-Friday scheduled as a 30-minute appointment but the treatment lasts 20 minutes. Depending on your response, additional sessions may be recommended to achieve maximum response following the acute phase (maintenance treatment).
What is it Like During a dTMS Treatment?
The first visit duration is approximately 45-60 minutes long. You will be asked whether there has been any medical or psychiatric change (including medications) since your last visit. You will sit in a comfortable chair and be given earplugs to protect your hearing.
The first step is to determine the dose and location that are appropriate for you. This is performed by a physician and is referred to as the “Motor Threshold.” This requires placing the helmet gently on the head while applying pressure over the part of the brain that moves the finger muscles (motor cortex). Once the location of the motor cortex is determined, various doses of stimulation will be tested to determine what is appropriate for you.
Once the location and threshold are determined, the helmet will be positioned on your head for the treatment. The coil will produce clicking sounds when it is delivering magnetic pulses, and will feel like a tapping sensation on your scalp.
Subsequent treatments are scheduled in 30 min time slots with the treatment taking approximately 20 minutes. You are free to leave, drive, and conduct activity as usual immediately after each treatment.