Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy

If you are someone who has tried antidepressant drugs or psychotherapy for psychiatric disorders yet you did not notice any improvement, TMS therapy might be the ultimate solution for you!


TMS therapy is a brain stimulation therapy that plays with your brain signals or networks to bring them back to normal patterns. Unlike other brain stimulation therapies, TMS needs no invasion, nosedation, or medications.


We all know the stats of depression that goes around the globe. As much as it is important to know the prevalence of mental health disorders worldwide, it’s equally important to look for all available treatment options.


The TMS system brings a much more advanced solution to the neuroscience world. It is not the first-line treatment, rathe rit is a non-invasive and non-systemic approach to the treatment of menta lhealth disorders.


What is TMS therapy and how well does it work for depression and anxiety? Let’s find out!

What is TMS Therapy?

TMS stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy. As the abbreviation suggests, it is a non-invasive technique to stimulate nerve cells using magnetic fields. In this procedure, specific areas of the brain are stimulated through electromagnetic induction, particularly those that deal with mental health. TMS therapy is FDA approved for treating depression in outpatient setups.


Sometimes another term, rTMS is used in place of TMS which stands for Repetitive TMS. In simple words, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy refers to delivering repetitive or multiple electrical impulses mainly for depression.

How is it done?

In a mental health disorder, certain parts of the brain are not performing optimally and need a spark to get functioning again. And this is exactly the purpose of TMS therapy, that is, to stimulate the regions of the brain that have decreased activity leading to a mental or neurological condition.


Before the procedure begins, the patient sits on a comfortable chair and is asked to remove the accessories that may catch or disrupt the magnetic field like jewelry, a watch, or a wallet. The TMS device produces a loud clicking sound during the treatment, hence, the patient is also provided with ear plugs beforehand to minimize this sound.


As it is a non-invasive procedure, there is no need for anesthesia and sedation and patients are fully awake and aware of their surroundings.


Note: If you have any non-removable electronic device around your head or neck, TMS therapy will not work for you!


During the procedure, anatomical landmarks are made on the patient’s scalp. A cushioned magnetic coil is placed on the patient’s scalp near the forehead, or precisely it is positioned on Inion and Nasion. The physician will also measure the frequencies of energy that needs to be generated.


The coil is linked with the pulse generator or stimulator that generates electric current delivering impulses to the brain which, in turn, stimulates the brain regions dealing with mood and depression.


There are no severe side effects of TMS therapy, once the procedure ends, patients can go on about their day without any assistance. However, for the first few sessions, patients are recommended to bring an attendant to accompany them on the way.


The treatment course is covered in multiple sessions, each session lasts for around 19 to 34 minutes. The whole TMS therapy course may takes four to six weeks to complete with weekly five days sessions.

How Does TMS Therapy Work?

TMS therapy works by altering disrupted neuronal activities. After the pulses have been generated and the current has entered trans-cranially into the brain, the patterns take the shape of a healthy brain function.


In simple terms, it improves brain activity and communication networks between neurons. These communications are lost in various neurological disorders, hence, TMS therapy works on activating them again or creating new connections within the brain.


The current delivered by the magnetic coil to the brain acts on specific areas of the brain cortex. These cortical regions may vary in different mental disorders but are always on the dominant side of the cerebral cortex.


Most commonly, the prefrontal cortex that deals with mood and personality changes is the target for TMS therapy.Stimulating dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and motor cortex have also shown promising results in treating dyskinesia seen in Parkinson's. Moreover, anxiety disorders and OCD are treated by stimulating the orbitofrontal cortex and the supplementary motor area.


Note that the targeted neurons can be depolarized, as well as hyperpolarized which makes them more or less excitable,respectively.

Risk and Side effects of TMS Therapy

As it is a non-invasive procedure, TMS therapy does not usually produce major side effects. It is well-tolerated and is generally safe to use. Only a few adverse effects have been reported, which include:


●     Headache, which is the most common side effect of TMS therapy

●     Discomfort due to the placement of electrodes

●     Tingling sensations

●     Muscle spasms and twitching

●     Lightheadedness

●     Sleepiness

●     Scalp and neck pain

●     Cognitive change during treatment

●     Hearing impairment


TMS therapy at higher frequencies may cause other side effects that are commonly produced in other invasive procedures. Such as:


●     Fainting

●     Seizures

●     Hypomania, mainly in people with bipolar disorder


Note: Seizures or fits very rarely develop, there is only a 0.1% chance for a patient to experience seizures during TMS therapy.

When is TMS Therapy Used

TMS therapy is mainly used for treating depression in patients with no improvement after antidepressant medications or psychotherapy.


According to studies, approximately 10 to 15%of the population suffers from Medication resistant depression, and 30 to 40%of people observe only partial improvement after drug therapy. TMS therapy can do wonders for such people. It has also shown therapeutic effects in Anxiety disorders and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders.


Moreover, it’s been proven beneficial inpatients with other neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, stroke,schizophrenia, PTSD, autism, chronic pain, nicotine addiction, and Parkinson's.It also has therapeutic potential for treating neurological disabilities after traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, or tinnitus.  


The success rate of TMS treatment for depression falls between 30 to 60%. Research is still going on to find more about the therapy’s response rate to other mental health disorders.

Who Should Avoid TMS?

TMS therapy, as already mentioned, has more benefits than drawbacks. However, TMS technicians suggest the following people should avoid TMS therapy due to greater health risks after the treatment course. You should avoid TMS if:


●     You have deep brain stimulators or electrodes inserted in the head

●     Permanent Piercings

●     Tattoos made with metal ink

●     Bullet pieces or shrapnels

●     Cochlear implants

●     Metal plates

●     There is a history of epilepsy or seizures

●     You are taking nerve stimulants

●     You have any other medical condition which may aggravate your fits or seizures


In all these conditions, you must avoid getting TMS therapy as the rays from the magnetic field generator may heat up,melt, or move the metal stuck in your head which will have serious health consequences.

How is Neurostar Superior to Other TMS?

The NeuroStar Advanced Therapy system is indicated for treating drug-resistant depression, mood and personality disorders, anxiety, OCD, and all other psychiatric disorders.  

What is NeuroStar?

Neuronetics Neurostar is the leading company with room to grow and keep evolving for patients’ betterment. Neurostar Advanced therapy brings a unique approach to treating mental health problems. It offers a drug-free depression treatment with no systemic or digestive side effects.


Neurostar provides you with a safe and non-invasive way of treating depression or depression-like syndromes and other mental health disorders.


How is Neurostar Different?

With the largest clinical data, proven health benefits, broad reimbursement, a large audience, insurance coverage, and a huge sales and customer support team, NeuroStar has already won the hearts of millions of people worldwide.


Given its major health benefits and minimum tono side effects, Neurostar TMS therapy has been proven safe and effective by the FDA.


TMS therapy costs anywhere from $6.000 to $12,000. Fortunately, NeuroStar is covered by most insurance companies which may bring this figure down within your budget. Confirm from your health insurance provider whether they offer coverage or not.


Always  consult your provider before opting for TMS therapy. NeuroStar Advanced Therapy is only available with a prescription from your provider.



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