Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
NeuroStar TMS Therapy is a new treatment cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients suffering from depression* who have not achieved satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant treatment. TMS stands for “transcranial magnetic stimulation.”
TMS Therapy is a treatment that can be performed in a psychiatrist’s office, under their supervision, using a medical device called the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system. NeuroStar TMS Therapy is:
- Non-invasive, meaning that it does not involve surgery. It does not require any anesthesia or sedation, as the patient remains awake and alert during the treatment.
- Non-systemic, meaning that it is not taken by mouth and does not circulate in the blood stream throughout the body.
How does Transcrainial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Work?
Through a treatment coil, the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system generates highly concentrated, magnetic fields which turn on and off very rapidly. These magnetic fields are the same type and strength as those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.
The treatment coil is applied to the head above the left prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is involved with mood regulation, and therefore is the location where the magnetic fields are focused. These magnetic fields do not directly affect the whole brain; they only reach about 2-3 centimeters into the brain directly beneath the treatment coil. As these magnetic fields move into the brain, they produce very small electrical currents. These electrical currents activate cells within the brain, which are thought to release neurotransmitters.
* NeuroStar TMS Therapy® is indicated for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in adult patients who have failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from one prior antidepressant medication at or above the minimal effective dose and duration in the current episode.