Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) uses pulses of energy created by magnetic fields. This energy is directed to specific areas and pathways that control mood regulation and depression in the brain. The treatment uses a magnetic coil that is applied to the head over the left prefrontal cortex area. Once treatment is initiated, the TMS system will deliver stimulation to the neurons in a specific area. Once these neurons are activated, they will signal other neurons to activate and stimulate deeper neural pathways in the brain. These are the pathways that regulate and treat depression. This process happens 3000 to 5000 times during a treatment.
TMS therapy uses magnetic fields similar to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI, which has a long safety record. TMS therapy exposes the individual to only 1/30th the magnetic field of that of MRI's. TMS therapy was approved by the FDA in 2008 and has been demonstrated to be safe in clinical trials involving the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder. TMS therapy causes few, if any, side effects and is well tolerated by patients. The most common side effect reported during clinical trials was mild scalp pain or discomfort.
TMS at Savannah Psychiatry
How does it work?
Until now most of our patients have relied on traditional psychiatric treatment which have included medication management and outpatient therapy. Despite our best treatments, there are many patients who continue to suffer severe depressive symptoms and function very poorly. These patients often have partial results or may have significant side effects that prohibit them from feeling better. TMS offers a unique approach for patients suffering from treatment resistant depression.
Is it safe?