What is TMS Therapy?
TMS therapy is a non-invasive treatment for people with depression for whom medication has been either ineffective, has been difficult for a person to take consistently, or their medication has had side effects that the person finds intolerable. TMS Therapy involves a patient sitting in a dentist-like chair with a large magnet pressed to the left side of their head. The TMS machine emits a pulsed magnetic field, focused precisely on the left side of the brain’s frontal cortex. The TMS machine creates an electrical current that activates cells within the brain which are thought to release neurotransmitters.
Who Is A Good Candidate For TMS?
TMS is approved by the FDA specifically for patients whose depression has not responded to antidepressants or who cannot tolerate the drugs’ side effects. Many of these patients are seeking an alternative, non-medication treatment.
Advantages of TMS Therapy Over Other Approaches
An advantage of TMS treatment is that it is not invasive and, unlike medication, appears to have few side effects. Side effects that have been reported include occasional discomfort or mild pain in the scalp at the site of the treatment, face twitching, or headaches. These tend to diminish over the course of treatment although adjustments can be made immediately in coil positioning and stimulation settings to reduce discomfort. Few patients drop out of treatment because of the symptoms.
TMS Therapy Treatment
The initial treatment plan usually consists of 5 treatments per week over a 4-6 week period, for an average of 20-30 total treatments. Additional treatments may be used to maintain optimal antidepressant effects. Each treatment session lasts about 40 minutes.
Insurance Coverage For TMS Therapy
Because of the increasing recognition by the insurance companies of it’s effectiveness, TMS treatment is covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and Optum (formerly United Behavioral Health).
TMS Therapy® may be covered by your health insurance provider on a case-by-case basis. Currently, insurance coverage for the TMS procedure varies and individual carriers and plans may determine coverage on a case-by-case basis.
If you are interested in learning more about TMS Therapy treatment, or to make an appointment at our Midtown Houston location-call Dr. Daniela White, M.D. at 713-426-3100.
Check out our Video on TMS