Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

About NeuroStar TMS Therapy®

NeuroStar TMS Therapy is the first FDA cleared non-invasive, non-drug, depression treatment to be cleared by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients who have not previously benefited from traditional drug therapy.
NeuroStar TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) Therapy is similar to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  TMS uses precisely targeted magnetic pulses to stimulate key areas of the brain that are found to be underactive in patients with depression.

TMS Therapy is administered within the practice.  During treatment, patients are awake and alert and can go back to their normal daily activities immediately after treatment.  The in-office treatment takes around 20 minutes and is administered 5 days a week, for between 6 to 8 weeks.

One description of how TMS Therapy works can be seen in: This NeuroStar Video

TMS has been featured in multiple news publications highlighting its success in treating depression: Dr. OzTIME MagazineThe Wall Street JournalEveryday HealthBehavioral Healthcare, to name a few.

For more information, see the list of Frequently Asked Questions below and call Mackenzie Muldowney, TMS Coordinator, by e-mailing TMS@pisgahinstitute.com or calling 828-254-9494, option 2. 

Do you take insurance?

Most insurance companies will cover TMS for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder when the patient has failed at least 4 different medications and has not benefited from traditional talk therapy.  To find out if TMS is a covered service, it is best to contact your insurance company directly.   If it is a covered service, you will likely be responsible for a co-pay for each treatment session.  

How often do I have to receive treatment?

TMS treatment is typically a course of 36 sessions that occur Monday through Friday for the first 6 weeks, and then will be tapered off over the last 2 weeks. 

How long is each treatment?

Treatment length will vary based on the amount of stimulation your brain needs to respond, but will typically be between 18 and 20 minutes. 

What are the side effects?

The most common side effect of TMS is scalp discomfort at the treatment area while pulses are being delivered.   Some patients develop a mild to moderate headache following treatment, but the headache is typically short lived and does not generally occur past the first few treatment sessions.   During treatment, you might experience some minor twitching around the eye or facial muscles, but this goes away when not receiving stimulation. 

What is treatment like?

During treatment, you will receive a series of pulses (40 over 4 seconds), followed by a rest period.   This cycle repeats until a total of 3000 pulses are delivered.   You are completely awake and will be monitored closely by your TMS technician the entire time. 

What do I do during treatment?

Most patients find it helpful to have a positive distraction during treatment.   You might opt to listen to music, an audiobook, or a podcast, or focus on mindful breathing and meditation.   Some patients have read books/magazines, or opted to bring a flash drive with photos or videos.  While you are in your treatment, the space is yours and we will try to make you as comfortable as possible.   You can bring a friend or family member to your sessions if you would like the extra support.

How soon will I see results?

Most patients see noticeable results between 4 and 5 weeks.  Every patient is different, though, and some might respond earlier or later.  Often, the TMS technician or a family member will notice changes well before the patient.   Not all patients will respond to treatment. 

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