A TMS Therapy treatment session is a short outpatient procedure that lasts approximately 19 minutes. During treatment, you will relax in the reclining treatment chair. A Certified TMS Therapy Specialist will be with you in the room during your treatment session and can answer any questions you may have. After the procedure, you can immediately return to your normal routine, including driving.
Your First Session
After your initial free consultation visit and physician visit, your first treatment session is referred to as mapping, and may last up to 1 hour. The mapping is conducted by a TMS Certified Physician. You will be provided and asked to wear protective earplugs, as the system emits a tapping sound during each treatment session.
Your TMS physician will first perform a test to identify your motor threshold. The motor threshold is the amount of magnetic field strength that results in the involuntary movement of your right thumb. This test is important because it identifies the magnetic field strength that will be used in each of your treatments. This field strength, referred to as the treatment dose, varies from patient to patient.
After the initial mapping procedure, the physician will determine the place on the head where the TMS treatment will be applied. This will allow you to receive optimal treatment.
The TMS Specialist will then administer TMS Therapy over an approximately 19-minute period. In 30-second intervals, the device will deliver rapid “pulses” of the magnetic fields. You will feel a tapping sensation on your scalp. Some patients may find this tapping uncomfortable or annoying. You will be provided a set of earplugs, which helps decrease this sensation. Your physician may be able to make adjustments to reduce this discomfort. TMS therapy is administered in 5-consecutive sessions each week for a total of 30-36 sessions over 5-6 weeks.
After the procedure
Immediately following each treatment session, you may return to your normal daily routine, including driving. During or after treatment you may experience a headache or discomfort at the site of stimulation. These are common side effects that often improve as further treatment sessions are administered. If necessary, you can treat this discomfort with an over-the-counter analgesic, such as Tylenol or Motrin. If these side effects persist, your TMS physician can temporarily reduce the strength of the magnetic field pulses being administered in order to make treatment more comfortable for you.
In clinical trials, most patients who benefited from NeuroStar TMS Therapy experienced results by the fourth week of treatment. Some patients may experience results in less time, while others may take longer. You should discuss your depression symptoms with your physician throughout the treatment course. If symptoms persist, you may want to consider other antidepressant options.