Learn more about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy.
What is TMS?
Transcranial magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression.
TMS is typically used when other depression treatments haven’t been effective. TMS involved stimulation of an area of your brain using a pulsing magnet placed on your scalp. The magnet is designed to give a focused beam of magnetic energy inducing small electrical currents with the aim of altering brain function for therapeutic purposes.
TMS works by changing the brain electrical activity and the brain chemicals that are involved in controlling mood.
Why is TMS used?
Depression is a treatable condition. But for some people, standard treatments aren’t effective. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is typically used when standard treatments such as medications and talk therapy (psychotherapy) are not effective.
TMS may be an appropriate treatment option for adult patients with treatment resistant major depression, who have failed to achieve a satisfactory response from prior trials of antidepressant medications (defined as “treatment resistant depression”).
The aim of TMS treatment is to lift your mood. With an improvement in mood there is often an associated improvement in sleep, appetite, energy and concentration and a decrease in negative thoughts. TMS is an acute treatment for depression and you will require ongoing treatment from your psychiatrist to maintain remission.
How does it work?
TMS treatment is a non-invasive treatment based on repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, which delivers magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the part of the brain controlling mood, which is often underactive in patients with depression.
The brain is an organ that functions through complex electrochemical processes, which may be impaired by certain types of mental illness. Scientists believe TMS acts by temporarily altering some of these processes, thereby returning function to normal.
TMS treatment delivers magnetic fields via a coil that is applied to one side of the patient’s scalp, generally above the left side of the head (above the dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex)
Repeated stimulation of this part of the brain has been proven to produce an antidepressant-like effect on people suffering from depression.
The magnetic field produces tiny electrical currents which then go on to activate cells within the brain, which (as believed) release neurotransmitters (chemicals in the brain), which do play an important role/function in mood regulation.
Since depression is believed to be caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters/chemicals in the brain, TMS treatment helps restore the balance of these chemicals in the brain and goes on to relieve the symptoms of depression.
Costs of TMS
For private patients, each session costs $180. A full course of TMS is 20 treatments.
Payment can be made upfront or via an interest-free payment plan. Payment plans allow patients to pay for the costs of treatment over a period of time that suits their budget.
Private Health Insurance
As of January 2019, TMS treatment is not covered under Medicare. Some private health insurance companies do cover outpatient TMS cost. You can contact your health fund directly to discuss this or we can arrange a health fund check once your referral has been received.
In some cases, patients may be able to access their superannuation on compassionate grounds in order to self-fund TMS treatment.