What To Expect When You Begin TMS

Learn about the TMS Therapy process

Getting ready for TMS Therapy in four easy steps:

  1. Am I a good candidate for TMS Therapy?
    During an initial phone consultation, our staff will ask a potential patient several questions to determine if they are a good candidate for TMS Therapy. These questions...
         a. Help qualify a potential patient under general Health Insurance and Medicare requirements.
         b. Determine any individual health contraindications (a specific situation in which a drug or procedure should not be used                because it may be harmful to the person) that may exist.
  2. Fill Out a New Patient Packet
    Once a potential patient is determined a TMS candidate, they must complete a Patient Packet of qualifying paperwork. There are four ways you can fill out the Packet, all of which get your information to a Patient Advocate for a comprehensive review.
  3. Comprehensive Review
    When your paperwork is electronically received, our staff will conduct the review, or initial assessment, of your medical history. Each patient’s review is handled individually and on a case-by-case basis.
  4. Create a Patient Portal Account
    After your initial assessment is complete, you’ll receive an emailed invitation to create a user-friendly Patient Portal account. There, you will be able to see the progress of your Insurance Benefits Investigation, prior authorization, and patient approval. There are a number of features in the portal to use as a reference tool for your care. All communication is HIPAA-secure.

Prior to your first appointment, our team will create an individualized treatment plan that includes your start date and the best treatment protocol for you. A Certified TMS Technician will call you to schedule your first appointment, which will be with the technician and a TMS Physician, at the location closest to you.


Medication and TMS

Medication management is not part of TMS therapy. TMS Solutions' role is to administer TMS Therapy only. Any changes in a patient’s medication management is at the discretion of the referring physician. TMS Solutions’ Chief Medical Officer is open to collaboration with referring physicians to provide the best care for each patient.

** Please let us know if your medication changes at any time during treatment **

What should I expect from treatment?

  • TMS treatment is basically painless and the overall experience is very positive. Some patients experience discomfort in the form of a headache or scalp pain at the treatment site, though this usually only occurs during the first few sessions and goes away as the body adapts to the treatment.
  • Patients are awake, can interact with their technician throughout the session, and can drive themselves to and from their treatment sessions.  
  • There are no long-term side effects from TMS.

Your first treatment is the Mapping Session

Mapping is the process used to find the treatment location on a patient's head. During the mapping session, the patient is given a white cotton cap to wear. Utilizing the TMS device, the physician tests for a nerve response and takes measurements, which are written on the cap. The patient wears the cap at every appointment to make it easy for the Technician to place the TMS device in the same treatment location. The paragraphs below give a more detailed description of the mapping process.

What are they looking for?

There is a portion of the brain called the homunculus that runs across the head from ear to ear. It is referred to as the "motor strip", and it controls your movement on the opposite sides of your body. Scientists have found that a magnetic pulse administered to this region on the left side of the head causes a response in the right thumb and fingers in the form of a twitch—like a reflex when the doctor taps your knee. The mapping session entails finding this area of your brain's motor strip by administering single magnetic pulses of increased strength until there is a twitch in the thumb or fingers. We refer to this as your motor threshold.

Hunting for the Treatment Area

Once your motor threshold is determined, the doctor moves the magnetic coil forward of the motor strip in five centimeter increments, which we refer to as “the hunt”.  At each stop, a pulse is emitted to stimulate the fingers on the right hand. The strength of the finger twitch, or lack thereof, determines whether or not the location is correct. Once the strongest response is observed, the location is recorded so treatment can be administered in that exact spot during every treatment session moving forward. As stated before, the patient is alert and interacts with the technician during this mapping session. There is no pain during this process, only the tapping sensation that accompanies the magnetic pulse.

The area of the brain we are hunting for is called the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; it is a nexus of nerve cells involved in depression. Think of this area as a trailhead for your limbic system. By stimulating this portion of the brain, the magnetic pulses continue to stimulate neurons along neural pathways, ultimately stimulating deeper brain structures involved with depression.

Images of a patient being mapped.