What should I expect at my consultation?
As every patient is different and experiences different symptoms of depression, seeing Dr. Lanocha for an in depth consultation is the best way to determine whether or not TMS is the most appropriate treatment for you. Dr. Lanocha spends an hour and half to two hours with patients reviewing their symptoms and treatment history, discussing their treatment goals, and how TMS may help them to reach those goals.
What is a TMS Therapy treatment like?
During the first treatment, which lasts about an hour and a half, Dr. Lanocha locates thestimulus site using a particular test called the Motor Threshold Test. During this test, Dr. Lanocha directs a series of single magnetic pulses at a particular location in the prefrontal cortex which controls the movement of the right thumb. Since every patient is slightly different, administering a pulse with just enough strength to cause the thumb to slightly move allows Dr. Lanocha to determine the precise location to place the coil and magnetic strength appropriate for the individual patient.
During treatment, the patient relaxes in the NeuroStar® (seen below) while the magnetic pulses are administered at a certain frequency over a period of about twenty minutes to one hour, depending on the patient’s specific treatment protocol. Patients often wonder what the magnetic pulses will feel like. TMS is not painful. Patients report that the pulses feel like a slight tapping or tingling (this is due to stimulation of nerves in the scalp), but this sensation usually dissipates after several treatments. In fact, patients often become so relaxed during treatment that they fall asleep. Patients are invited to bring their iPods or CDs to enjoy their own music during treatment.
Will TMS disrupt my day? Are there side effects?
One of the great benefits of TMS therapy is that unlike medications, TMS does not circulate through the body, therefore it does not cause side effects such as weight gain, dry mouth, upset stomach, dizziness, or sexual dysfunction. And unlike other treatments, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), TMS does not cause cognitive side effects or memory problems. No anesthesia or sedation is used, so you can drive yourself to and from treatment and even go back to work or school after each treatment.
How effective is TMS Therapy?
TMS is effective about 75% of the time, which means that it is twice as effective as antidepressant medications and almost as effective as electroconvulsive therapy. Nearly half of those who respond to TMS feel better within the first few weeks of treatment.