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TMS Therapy for Refractory Depression

There's new hope for people with refractory depression, which is depression that doesn't respond to conventional treatment. Psychiatry and behavioral health specialists at The University of Kansas Health System offer a drug-free therapy called deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – an FDA-cleared, noninvasive treatment that uses magnetic energy to stimulate brain cells and improve the symptoms of depression.

At The University of Kansas Health System, deep TMS therapy is provided by an expert team of psychiatric and behavioral health specialists – the largest, most preferred practice of its type in Kansas. The team includes board-certified and Spanish-speaking specialists.

What is deep transcranial magnetic stimulation?

Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation is a noninvasive treatment that uses magnetic fields to improve depression symptoms. Magnetic impulses are delivered through the scalp, stimulating nerve cells in the areas of the brain that are affected by depression. Most people get deep TMS therapy when other treatments for depression haven't worked for them or haven't worked well enough.

We offer a variety of appointment types. Learn more or call 913-588-1227 to schedule now.

Who can have deep TMS therapy?

Most people with major depression are prescribed antidepressant medications, or are recommended to pursue psychotherapy or both. However, traditional depression treatments don't always work for all people. In these cases, deep TMS therapy offers an alternative, effective option to improve depression symptoms for adults.

Deep TMS therapy can be used on its own or in combination with medication and/or counseling. This makes deep TMS particularly beneficial for those people who aren't good candidates for antidepressants or who have only seen limited improvements with medication. Deep TMS is also an alternative to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) which has its own risks.

Deep TMS therapy is not recommended for those who have epilepsy, metal in or around their head, those who have suffered traumatic brain injury or those who have not been diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD). Most insurances will not pay for deep TMS therapy without an MDD diagnosis even with other prior authorization requirements being met.

How does deep TMS therapy work to treat depression?

Deep TMS uses magnetic pulses, similar to those used in MRI technology, to stimulate the parts of the brain that are underactive in people with depression. During a deep TMS therapy session, your doctor places a special electromagnetic coil against your scalp to deliver these magnetic pulses. Treatments are delivered in a series of individual sessions spaced out over several weeks. Outpatient care is available for this treatment.

BrainsWay® deep TMS uses flexible H-coils embedded in a helmet to noninvasively activate certain brain structures. BrainsWay’s patented H-coil design enables deeper and broader stimulation than traditional TMS coils. This results in greater activation of neurons, less likelihood of targeting errors and powerful efficacy.

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Benefits and risks of deep transcranial magnetic stimulation

In clinical studies, those who received treatment with BrainsWay deep TMS Therapy reported improvements in depression symptoms after 4-6 weeks. Additionally:

  • 4 in 5 people experienced significant improvement
  • 2 in 3 people were symptom-free

Side effects from deep TMS treatment are minimal. They include mild to moderate pain or discomfort at the treatment site. Deep TMS can safely be used with or without antidepressant medications. For some people, deep TMS therapy can provide a treatment option without the side effects associated with antidepressant medication.

What happens during deep TMS therapy?

You are alert throughout deep TMS stimulation treatment, which is conducted in a physician's office. Treatment takes about 15-20 minutes per session, with 5 sessions performed each week for 4-6 weeks. You can resume normal activities immediately after each treatment.

Why choose us for deep TMS therapy

Our psychiatric team, the largest in Kansas, has qualified deep TMS providers who complete nearly 500 sessions per year. We provide consultations, including telehealth visits, to see if deep TMS therapy is right for you. Our dedicated psychosocial support offers a 1-on-1 approach that allows patients to see the same support team for each visit.

We are the only provider in the Kansas City metro area that accepts Medicare for deep TMS therapy for certain patients. We offer financial counselors to assist with costs and offer a significant cash discount for those eligible for self-pay.

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Commerce Bank has partnered with The University of Kansas Health System to bring you CommerceCare™, a fast, flexible and patient-friendly extended financing solution. With CommerceCare™, you can get many of the elective care services you want now and pay over time. CommerceCare™ offers two convenient plans so you can choose the option that works best for you.

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