Deep TMS in Iowa | Achieve TMS Central


FDA-Approved Depression Treatment

Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS) is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. This technology is similar to that used in MRIs. dTMS has been thoroughly tested, participating in over 60 clinical trials worldwide with registered patents by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). FDA-approved depression treatments are administered by Certified Technicians..

How Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Works

TMS uses a machine that generates magnetic pulses through a coil built into specialized helmet.

During the procedure, a patient sits comfortably in a chair, while wearing the helmet on the top of their head, with the coil positioned directly above the targeted area.

An attending technician and psychiatrist do a Cortical Mapping Process to pinpoint the area where treatment will take effect, before starting the procedure.

From there, magnetic waves are sent through the helmet, past the scalp and skull, into the brain. The waves only penetrate so far into the brain, however, usually stopping short of anywhere from 0.6 inches to 1.6 inches depending on the type of machine used.

Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation sets itself apart due to this difference in distance, allowing for greater efficacy.

Treatments last roughly half an hour, during which time a patient may watch TV, read, listen to music, or speak with the attending technician.

Are There Side Effects of dTMS?

While the idea of passing magnetic waves through the brain might sound terrifying, these waves are entirely harmless and are about as powerful as the magnetic waves used in imaging technology, such as MRI machines.

This means the procedure leaves no lasting side effects, and the only complaints issued after the use of TMS technology were complaints related to the physical sensation of the magnetic waves
(akin to a light tapping), scalp discomfort due to the headgear, and mild headaches. Most patients reported that their discomfort waned with subsequent treatments.

Movement disturbances, memory issues, and other such side effects sometimes attributed to other forms of neurostimulation have not been found to occur after TMS treatment.

Cases of convulsions experienced after TMS exist, although the circumstances of these cases helps explain their occurrence: six cases occurred during TMS safety research involving parameters that no longer correspond to current standards, and one involved a patient who did not consult her doctor regarding the use of several conflicting medications.

How Long Will Treatment Take to Work?

For the treatment to take full effect, a patient must undergo TMS therapy five times a week, for six weeks, then two days a week for three weeks (a total of 36). Some patients report improvements in mood after just a handful of visits, while others report incremental improvements, often only after the first few weeks.

The reason for the many treatments is simple: to leave a lasting impact on the brain, consistent repetition is necessary.

How Do I Pay For My dTMS Treatment?

Qualifying criteria for TMS coverage include:
  • Failure to respond to antidepressants.
  • Failure to respond to ‘additional augmentation’ (non-SSRI antidepressants and other atypical treatment).
  • Failure to respond to at least one type of psychotherapy/talk therapy.
Most major insurance companies cover deep transcranial magnetic stimulation, and several TMS clinics throughout the country work with companies to provide coverage to their clients. However, TMS is only covered by insurance when meeting the right standards. In most cases, insurance companies will require that a patient first undergoes first line treatment for depression. This is because TMS treatment has proven most effective in cases of treatment-resistant depression, where antidepressants and psychotherapy do not elicit a positive response or cause extreme side effects.
For more information, check with your local TMS providers and current healthcare provider to determine whether TMS is an option for you.
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