The first step in the TMS treatment process is determining whether or not TMS is an appropriate treatment for you. This is done in a consultation with Dr. Edward Fruitman, who will review your symptoms, treatment history, and possible treatment options.
YOUR FIRST TREATMENT SESSION
If TMS is right for you, an initial treatment session will be scheduled. At this first visit, which may last over an hour, our expertly trained TMS Technicians will determine the appropriate placement and energy settings of the Neurostar treatment coil. Placement of the treatment coil and the strength of the magnetic field are important factors in successful TMS treatment. In order to do this, a test is done to determine what is called the motor threshold. A magnetic pulse will be repeatedly given to find the strength that is just enough to result in a movement of your right thumb. From there, the coil is moved forward to a specific area over the left frontal lobe and initial treatment begins.
The actual treatment session lasts between 30-45 minutes. As you sit reclined, awake and alert, the Neurostar TMS System delivers 40 rapid MRI strength magnetic pulses over 4 seconds. The pulses make a loud clicking sound, and ear protection or ear plugs are available. The pulses feel like a tapping on the scalp but without the sensation of anything touching the skin. During the session you can watch television, listen to music, or simply sit back and relax.
AFTER THE PROCEDURE
After the treatment, you can drive and resume your normal day. TMS is non-invasive, meaning it does not involve surgery, and also non-systemic, meaning no drugs are used, and therefore no drug side effects. Typical TMS side effects are irritation or discomfort at the treatment site, or headache, and are usually mild.
Treatment sessions are then repeated according to your treatment protocol and initial settings are saved. A usual course of treatment involves sessions 5 days a week for 4 to 6 weeks, although this can vary depending on a patient’s response to treatment. A tapering set of treatments is sometimes used to ensure your improvement. As you progress through your therapy, your Psychiatrist, and the TMS staff will regularly assess your progress.