Cambridge Biotherapies
(617) 803-9722

TMS Therapy

Cambridge TMS provides Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation therapy in a safe, comfortable, and private setting for patients suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa.

In addition to standard rTMS therapy, we also offer a new, empirically-validated protocol called “Theta Burst,” which may be more effective than standard protocols, and requires only 3-6 minutes per treatment.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss any aspect of TMS therapy. We provide consultation to patients directly or to their treating clinicians.

What is TMS?

TMS is an FDA-cleared, safe, and effective treatment for depression that uses magnetic pulses. TMS has been proven to be more effective than medication for patients who have not benefited from one or more antidepressant trials. TMS therapy is free from side effects that many people experience when they take antidepressant or antianxiety medications.

How Does TMS Work?

TMS uses precisely targeted magnetic pulses to stimulate specific areas of the brain that are underactive in depression and inhibit areas that are overactive in anxiety. Treatments are usually administered 4-5 days a week for 3-6 weeks.

Each treatment takes approximately 20 minutes and is conducted in an office setting while the patient sits in a comfortable reclining chair. A small device containing the magnetic coil rests lightly on the patient’s head. During treatment, the patient hears a clicking sound and feels a gentle tapping sensation on their head. Patients remain awake and alert and can return to their normal activities immediately following each session.

In addition to standard TMS, we also offer an empirically-validated protocol called “theta burst,” which research is demonstrating may be more effective than standard TMS and takes only three to six minutes per treatment.

Is TMS Effective?

TMS has been proven in numerous studies to be more effective than medication for the treatment of depression in patients who have not responded to one or more antidepressants. Ongoing research is demonstrating the effectiveness and safety of TMS in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder, depression during and following pregnancy, post-traumatic stress disorder, and certain kinds of chronic pain.

Remission rates are variable, but a course of TMS therapy for depression can keep patients symptom-free for a year or more.

Side Effects of TMS

Because it uses magnetic pulses, TMS is largely free of side effects, in much the same way that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is free of side effects. And because of its low-risk profile, TMS is an excellent treatment choice for patients who cannot tolerate the risks or side effects of antidepressants or other biological treatments, such as ECT (electroconvulsive therapy).

Unlike some medications, TMS has no adverse effects on alertness or any aspect of cognitive functioning. In fact, there is evidence that TMS enhances certain aspects of cognitive functioning, including short-term memory.

The most common side effect of treatment is discomfort at or near the treatment site. Other side effects reported have included eye, tooth, and facial pain, muscle twitch, and skin discomfort. There is a rare risk of seizure.

TMS Billing

Cambridge TMS will work with patients and clinicians to obtain insurance reimbursement for treatment.

Many health insurance policies in Massachusetts including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim, Health New England, Tufts Health Plan, Aetna, United Behavioral Health, and Medicare cover TMS.

Cambridge TMS will either submit insurance claims on behalf of our patients or guide them through the submission process if they prefer to deal directly with their own insurance companies.

We are open to working with patients who would benefit from TMS, but are either unable to afford the treatment or do not have adequate insurance coverage. Please contact us for more information about our sliding scale fee.
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