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TMS - FAQs and Resources

at Grace Health Services

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) FAQ

What is TMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-surgical brain stimulation technique. Approved by the FDA in 2008, it employs magnetic fields to activate brain cells, aiming to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. TMS therapy is an option for individuals with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) who haven't benefited from antidepressants or therapy. It can be utilized as a standalone treatment or alongside medication.

 

What does a typical TMS treatment look like? 

A standard TMS treatment plan involves 5 sessions a week over 6 weeks, plus an additional tapering period, making up a total of 36 sessions. Each session, which targets the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, lasts between 20 to 40 minutes. Patients stay awake during treatment and can go back to their daily tasks right after.


What happens during the first TMS session?
The initial session includes brain mapping to find the DLPFC and determining the motor threshold to set the appropriate level of magnetic stimulation.

 

What is Theta Burst Stimulation? 

Theta Burst Stimulation (iTBS) is a quicker version of TMS, with sessions lasting only 3-5 minutes, as opposed to the standard 20-40 minutes.

 

How effective is TMS? 

The success of TMS varies by individual. It may be less effective for those with a long-standing illness or who have tried many other treatments without success.

 

Are there any side effects?

Possible side effects of TMS include slight headaches, discomfort at the scalp, and minor muscle spasms during the procedure, which generally improve within a week.

 

How long do the benefits of TMS last?

The positive effects of TMS can last up to a year after a complete treatment course, although some may need maintenance sessions.


Is TMS covered by insurance?
Medicare and many private insurers cover TMS for treating Major Depressive Disorder. However, coverage for Theta Burst Stimulation and specific conditions might vary, usually requiring evidence of unsuccessful trials of psychotherapy and medications.

Let’s get you the care you deserve!

​Our certified providers at Grace Health Services in VA & D.C. are dedicated to understanding and treating a variety of mental health challenges. Drawing from both modern research and years of hands-on experience, we aim to provide nothing but the finest care from the moment of diagnosis.

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