Introduction to TMS treatments

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Innovative treatment for depression

For the past 15 years Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) has evolved as a potential new treatment for depression and other psychiatric disorders.

Without the need for invasive surgery, TMS focuses on the application of magnetic energy to superficial areas of the brain via a magnetic coil.

The energy stimulates electrical activity in nerves below the coil, causing neurons to fire.

Unlike other forms of neurological stimulation or surgery, TMS requires no anaesthesia or medication and there is generally no side effects post the treatment.

TMS has had success in North America, Asia, Europe and increasingly in Asia and is offered in Australia at The Victoria Clinic and The Melbourne Clinic.

A General Practitioner referral is required for admissions and appointments.

To be admitted for TMS, please fax or email your referral letter to the preferred site for treatment.

For further enquiries please contact the site TMS Coordinators.

TMS Coordinators

The Victoria Clinic
Teresia Gitau

Phone: (03) 9526 0284
Fax: (03) 9521 7510

The Melbourne Clinic
Sue Tran

Phone: (03) 9487 4628
Fax: (03) 9487 4655

TMS has been proved to provide results in patients that have tried a number of other clinical options without any long lasting outcomes.

The procedure is painless and quick and does not require surgery, anaesthesia or medication.

On the most part allows patients to go about their normal day-to-day activities post their treatment.

What if I am taking any other medications or undergoing other treatments?
These things are discussed during assessment interview.

I have had x number of treatments and I haven’t noticed improvement. Is that normal?
As with any treatment people respond differently, and at different times.

During your treatment, you will have regular reviews with the clinical team.

Can I use my phone/device during treatment?
Yes, phones and tablets can be used for music, games and emails, however not phone calls.

There are many apps that focus on mindfulness that we suggest patients take a look at.

I am thinking about starting/coming off antidepressant medication. Is that okay?
You should always consult your healthcare professional before stopping any medications.

This can be discussed during your assessment.

TMS is a procedure that involves the focused application of magnetic energy to superficial regions of the brain, changing the activity level of cells in stimulated areas.

Treatment programs tend to involve daily administration of TMS, from Monday to Friday, for four weeks with each session typically lasting between 30 to 60 minutes.

Patients are seated in the comfort of a lounge chair throughout the duration of the treatment.

Throughout the research period TMS has been found to be well tolerated by patients and appears to be free of major side-effects.

Each person responds to medical treatment differently and a full consultation will be undertaken with a specialist prior to the commencement of a TMS treatment.

TMS is an effective tool in the treatment of depression and other psychiatric disorders and is particularly helpful for individuals who have struggled to achieve wellness with traditional therapies alone.

Over 20 years of studies have shown that TMS is an effective treatment for depression.

These studies have shown that TMS acts as an antidepressant treatment, relieving depression in a significant proportion of patients who undergo treatment.

It is likely that it acts by changing activity in areas of the brain that are abnormally active in patients with depression.

Following on from this research, a considerable amount of which was conducted by Professor Fitzgerald at Monash University and The Victoria Clinic, TMS has gradually become more widely available over recent years.

It first became widely used in North America and has been approved for use in Australia by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) and endorsed as an effective treatment for depression by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

We recommend you speak directly with your health fund.

Patients are also welcome to self-fund their admission to hospital to receive this treatment.

During the procedure, an electrical current passes through a small coil placed close to the exterior of the scalp.

The current includes a magnetic field and pulses of the magnetic field are applied, passing into the brain without resistance.

If the magnetic field is of sufficient strength it will stimulate electrical activity in nerves below the coil, causing neurons to fire.

This stimulation may be repeated many times per second and with variation in intensity, these variations will determine the effects of the stimulation.

TMS can be applied in differing ways to either increase or decrease local brain activity dependent on each patient’s individual requirements.

Primarily patients with depression.

Patients who are suitable for TMS will typically have continued symptoms of depression despite having tried one or more antidepressant medications.

Exclusion criteria for TMS:

There are a few things that make a patient not suitable for TMS - the main issues are a history of epilepsy or seizures or the presence of a pacemaker or other type of implanted medical devices.

Increasing research is also focusing on the use of TMS in other conditions.

The Victoria Clinic provide TMS treatment to a small number of patients with schizophrenia who have persistent auditory hallucinations (hearing voices) which have not responded to other medication treatments.

Do you have a question about TMS treatments?

Fill out the online enquiry form below and we will be in touch with you shortly.

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