Typical TMS Treatment
A NeuroStar® TMS Therapy treatment session is a short outpatient procedure that lasts about 19-37 minutes, depending on what the doctor determines is the correct protocol. During treatment, you can relax in the treatment chair. You can also speak with our TMS Specialists whenever necessary. After the procedure, you can immediately return to your normal routine, including driving.
Your first treatment session
Because your TMS-certified physician needs to determine how to most effectively administer treatment, your first session could last up to an hour and a half. You will be provided and asked to wear protective earplugs, as the system emits a tapping sound during operation.
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 a movement of your right thumb. This test is important because it identifies the magnetic field strength that will be used in your treatment. This field strength is customized for each patient to deliver the correct treatment dose.
After this initial procedure, the TMS physician will determine the place on the head where the TMS treatment will be applied and the magnetic coil will be moved to that location. This will allow you to receive optimal treatment.
The TMS Specialist will then administer TMS Therapy over an approximately 19-40 minute period. In 30-second intervals, the device will deliver rapid "pulses" of the magnetic fields. These will feel like tapping on your scalp. Some patients may find this tapping uncomfortable. Your physician may be able to make adjustments to reduce this discomfort.
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 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. 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.
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.
TMS Therapy Insurance Coverage
Since the FDA clearance of TMS in 2008, insurance coverage for eligible patients has increased significantly. Currently, there are over 60 coverage polices for TMS, including most Medicare contractors. Although TMS is not a first line of treatment, it is an alternative option for those who are not responding to or cannot tolerate medications. Patients are encouraged to speak directly with their Doctor regarding any specific insurance questions. Patients can also contact a Reimbursement Specialist and receive assistance with understanding insurance coverage and verifying insurance benefits. For a list of the insurance companies and applicable states that cover TMS Therapy, please click here.