Frequently Asked Questions about TMS
WHAT IS TRANSCRANIAL MAGNETIC STIMULATION?
TMS is a form of brain stimulation that uses a medical device that produces magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in specific areas of the brain, which improves numerous mental and neuropathic disorders. TransCranial Magnetic Stimulation is FDA approved and evidenced-based. It has been extensively researched by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Harvard University, Mayo Clinic, John’s Hopkins University, and hundreds of other highly reputed research and testing bodies. Our San Diego TMS Clinic provides TMS Therapy for a wide range of mental health disorders.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
TMS can measurably improve brain activity, brain circuitry, and brain physiology through an entirely non-invasive (non-surgical) process. It involves no medication or anesthesia, and it has almost no side effects of any kind. Patients may resume all normal activities, immediately following each therapy session.
HOW DOES TMS WORK?
TransCranial Magnetic Stimulation works through a device that delivers focused magnetic pulses, like an MRI machine does, to specific areas of the brain that are linked to mental health and neuropathic disorders. The device rests gently on the patient’s head and stimulates the brain’s nerve cells below it.
The results of TransCranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy are:
- increased brain cell activity
- increased brain cell connectivity
- release of neurotransmitters: Serotonin; Dopamine; Norepinephrine
- increased general brain plasticity (brain’s ability to change)
- other amazing brain regenerating effects
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT PROCESS?
Each treatment session lasts only just a few minutes [see 3-Minute ‘Theta Burst’]. Treatment sessions are typically conducted 5 days per week, over the course of several weeks, depending on the specific disorder being treated.
During the initial visit, the patient meets with our Psychiatrist for a brief consultation, which includes brain ‘mapping’, whereby the doctor identifies the specific area of the brain to stimulate, the intensity of the stimulation, the number of sessions indicated, according to the disorder. Treatment then commences by placing the TMS device on the patient’s head; the device emits magnetic pulses (patients describe these pulses as gentle taps on the head); the patient relaxes while the TMS device does its work for the brief session. Patients are fully awake and comfortable and may use their phone, laptop, TV, during the treatment session.
After the initial session, our highly-trained TMS technicians will manage the balance of the sessions, under the direction of the Psychiatrist.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
TransCranial Magnetic Stimulation is FDA approved for the treatment of Depression, Anxiety/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Many insurance companies cover the entire cost of the treatment for Major Depression, leaving no out-of-pocket costs for the patient, beyond her or his deductible and/or co-pay. Insurance companies require patients to qualify and pre-authorize for TMS therapy by evidencing that medication has been unsuccessful for them as a treatment option.
For patients who want to utilize their insurance, our billing experts will contact the patient’s insurance company to determine if the patient qualifies for coverage, and then assist with the pre-authorization process.
* Insurance reimbursement is limited to the treatment of Major Depression, only.
Brain Therapy TMS is a certified healthcare provider of CareCredit, a medical procedure financing company, that can provide financing to cover the entire cost of the TMS procedure, interest-free for a period of time; CareCredit can qualify borrowers, instantly, through their online application process, which consists of just a few qualifying questions.
Cash / Check / Credit Card
Cash, check, credit card, or financing through a financing company (see above) is required for the treatment of all other disorders for which TMS therapy has been proven effective in remitting.
If the patient is not using insurance, there is no pre-qualification required of any kind. The cash price is $300 per session.
DOES TMS HURT?
The vast majority of TMS patients report that they experience almost no discomfort or pain from the procedure. Some experience mild tenderness for a short period of time in the specific area of the head where the device rests, only for the first few sessions. Others report mild headache, which is short-lasting and usually doesn’t require medication.
CAN I DRIVE AFTER MY APPOINTMENT?
Yes – patients can after their appointments without any concern. Indeed, patients can participate in all their normal activities, immediately after each treatment session.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TMS?
The benefits of TMS are significant and compelling:
- Non-Invasive Treatment – the magnetic device rests on the head of the patient for a few minutes per session, while they are awake, alert, and comfortable.
- Discontinuing or Significantly Reducing Medication – it enables the patient to take only a minimal dose, or discontinue completely, her/his anti-depressants and other medications. These medications are often ineffective and have numerous negative side effects (‘foggy brain’, lethargy, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, etc.).
- Minimal to No Side Effects – the vast majority of patients experience no side effects.
- Long-Lasting Results – research evidence that TMS has proven to be an effective, long-term treatment in over 2/3 of patients treated, with full remission realized in 1/3 of the patients treated for major depression.