Medication management is not part of TMS therapy. TMS Solutions' role is to administer TMS Therapy. 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 **
One of the most frequently asked questions by patients is what they should expect from TMS treatment:
The purpose of TMS is to stimulate brain cells along the neural pathways in the brain. 30 years of research and ten years of clinical practice have shown that stimulating pathways in the brain enough times daily over a set period of time causes treatment-resistant depression to get better at a significantly higher rate than with antidepressants.
There is a portion of the brain called the homunculus that runs across the head from ear to ear. We refer to it as the motor strip, and it controls your movement on the opposite side 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 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.
Once the 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 if the location is correct or not. Once the strongest response is observed, the location is recorded so treatment can be administered in that exact spot in 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; 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 stimulate neurons along neural pathways, stimulating deeper brain structures involved with depression.
Years of research show this treatment is effective in treating most people with depression. Unfortunately, no medical treatment is completely successful—about 10-20% of patients do not respond to TMS treatment.
Patients respond at different rates and times to TMS therapy. After providing thousands of treatments, we have observed three general response patterns. Every patient has a different experience throughout the TMS Therapy treatments.
TMS treatment involves the patient driving themselves to and from treatment, being awake and engaged during treatment that is generally painless and has no side effects outside of treatment. Fortunately, the majority of patients have a successful treatment.