Why Choose Southern California TMS Center?
Southern California is a leading TMS Center of Excellence. Our focus is TMS, with dedicated technicians trained in advanced techniques. Our Medical Director is a recognized expert in the field and our we care for the entire person, not just the patient. Your wellness is our Number One goal. See our Testimonials for what our patients say about us.
What is TMS?
TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation. It is used to treat depression by stimulating the brain non-invasively using electromagnetic fields, similar to those produced by an MRI machine. During TMS Therapy, a magnetic field is administered in very short pulses to the part of your brain that research has demonstrated to be associated with depression. The typical initial course of treatment is about 45 minutes daily over 4-6 weeks.
How does TMS Therapy work?
The NeuroStar TMS Therapy system uses short pulses of magnetic fields to stimulate the area of the brain that is thought to function abnormally in patients with depression. The magnetic field produces an electric current in the brain that stimulates the brain cells (neurons). This results in changes that are beneficial in the treatment of depression.
Is TMS Therapy a good alternative for patients who cannot tolerate the side effects associated with antidepressant medications?
TMS is non-systemic (does not circulate in the blood throughout the body), so it does not have side effects such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction, nausea, dry mouth, sedation, etc. The most common side effects reported during clinical trials were headache and scalp discomfort – generally mild to moderate – occurring less frequently after the first week of treatment. TMS Therapy has been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with depression who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medication.* Like any treatment option, you and Dr. Hutton will work together to find the most appropriate treatment option for you.
Is TMS Therapy like other alternative therapies which use magnets to treat some illnesses?
No. TMS Therapy involves a unique method of using pulsed magnetic fields for potential therapeutic benefit. The intensity of the magnetic field is similar to that of the magnetic fields used in magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. These techniques differ radically from the popular use of low intensity, static magnetic fields. These products deliver weak and undirected static fields that are not capable of activating brain cells.
Is TMS Therapy like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)?
No, the two procedures are very different. While both are effective in the treatment of depression, there are many differences in safety and tolerability. During the TMS Therapy procedure, patients sit in a chair and are awake and alert throughout the entire procedure – no sedation is used with TMS Therapy. Patients can transport themselves to and from treatment. TMS Therapy was also shown to have no negative effects on memory function in clinical trials. In contrast, “shock therapy,” or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), intentionally causes a seizure. Patients receiving ECT must be sedated with general anesthesia and paralyzed with muscle relaxants. Recovery from an ECT treatment session occurs slowly, and patients are usually closely monitored for minutes or a few hours after a treatment. Short-term confusion and memory loss are common, and long-term disruptions in memory have been shown to occur and may persist indefinitely in some people. Because of the side effects associated with ECT, a significant amount of caregiver support is required.
What is a typical course of treatment with TMS Therapy?
In clinical trials, patients received TMS Therapy 5 times per week for 37 minutes sessions over 4-6 weeks. Patients treated with TMS Therapy should receive treatment for a minimum of four weeks with additional treatments based on clinical judgment.
What are the potential risks of TMS Therapy?
TMS Therapy is well tolerated and has been proven to be safe in clinical trials. The most commonly reported side effect related to treatment was scalp discomfort during treatment sessions. This side effect is generally mild to moderate, and occurs less frequently after the first week of treatment. Less than 5% of patients treated with NeuroStar TMS Therapy discontinued treatment due to side effects. In NeuroStar clinical trials, over 10,000 TMS treatments demonstrated its safety, with no occurrence of seizures. However, there is a small risk of a seizure occurring during treatment. This risk is no greater than what has been observed with oral antidepressant medications. While TMS Therapy has been proven effective, not all patients will benefit from it. As in any treatment for depression, patients should be carefully monitored for worsening symptoms, signs or symptoms of suicidal behavior, and/or unusual behavior. Families and caregivers should also be aware of the need to observe patients and notify their treatment provider if symptoms worsen.
Does TMS Therapy cause brain tumors?
No, TMS Therapy uses the same type and strength of magnetic fields as MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), which have been used in tens of millions of patients around the world and have not been shown to cause tumors. The magnetic energy used in a full course of TMS Therapy is a small fraction of just one brain scan with an MRI.
Does TMS cause memory loss?
No, TMS Therapy was systematically evaluated for its effects on memory. Clinical trials demonstrated that TMS Therapy does not result in any negative effects on memory or concentration.
Is TMS Therapy uncomfortable?
The most common side effect related to treatment was scalp discomfort during treatment sessions. This side effect was generally mild to moderate, and occurred less frequently after the first week of treatment. If necessary, you can treat this discomfort with an over-the-counter analgesic. If these side effects persist, your technician under the guidance of Dr. Hutton can reduce the strength of the magnetic field pulses being administered in order to make treatment more comfortable. Less than 5% of patients treated with NeuroStar TMS Therapy discontinued treatment due to side effects.
How long does the antidepressant effect last? Will I need any therapy beyond the first 4-6 weeks?
In most patients, the clinical benefit of TMS Therapy was maintained through 6 months of follow-up study. Talk to your doctor about your long-term treatment path.
Can I also take antidepressant(s) if I am receiving TMS Therapy?
Yes. In clinical trials, TMS Therapy was safely administered with and without other antidepressant medications.
Is the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system cleared by the FDA for use in major depression within the United States?
Yes, the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system was the first TMS device to be cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of major depression. The NeuroStar TMS Therapy system is also the first TMS device to have been evaluated in a large, multicenter, controlled clinical trial.
Will TMS Therapy be covered by my insurance?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy is now covered by many insurance companies around the country. Companies that are currently covering TMS Therapy include Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, MHN (HealthNet), along with many others. Southern California TMS Center will work with you to make the insurance process as easy as possible.
Is TMS Safe?
Clinical trials have proven the safety of TMS Therapy in treating patients who’ve had an inadequate response to prior antidepressant medications. Treatment with TMS Therapy caused very few side effects and was generally well tolerated by patients. The most common side effect reported during clinical trials was scalp discomfort—generally mild to moderate and occurring less frequently after the first week of treatment. Fewer than 5% of patients discontinued treatment with TMS Therapy due to adverse events. Over 10,000 active treatments were performed across all NeuroStar clinical trials demonstrating its safety:
– No seizures
– No systemic side effects
– No weight gain
– No sexual dysfunction
– No sedation
– No nausea
– No dry mouth
– No adverse effects on concentration or memory
– No device-drug interactions
TMS Therapy should not be used (is contraindicated) in patients with some implanted metallic devices or some non-removable metallic objects in or around the head. Make sure to inform us of any implanted metals in your initial consultation.
Is brain imaging necessary for TMS Therapy for depression?
Brain imaging (MRI’s, CT’s, etc) are not necessary to determine the appropriate area of TMS treatment for depression. The area of treatment known as the Dorsal Lateral Pre-Frontal Cortex (DLPFC) can be properly located and confirmed without the use of brain imaging scans. There is no research supporting the notion that treating an area of your brain other than the DLPFC or using scans to locate other areas delivers better outcomes than the FDA method.