The first TMS visit can be anxiety-provoking for a lot of people. It’s a very different treatment, and patients often don’t know what to expect. That’s why we hope to demystify exactly what happens when you come in for an initial TMS appointment. It’s often an exciting time for us as clinicians, because we’ve seen what amazing results can come from TMS!
After patients complete their patient forms, we invite them into the treatment room where they sit down on our very comfortable TMS chair. The first thing we do is try to set up the chair so that it’s as comfortable as possible for you. Whatever position we set you in that first day will often remain the same position you’ll sit in throughout all 36 sessions of TMS. The only way we’re able to change positions is to map you over again. The reason for this is because the treatment is so precise, and we want to make sure we’re treating the correct location each time.
The point of the mapping is to find the treatment location for your TMS sessions, the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (lDLPFC). This spot is unique for each person, so we map each patient to find the perfect area to treat. To do this, our office uses the TMS machine to find your motor cortex. What we are trying to do is stimulate the motor cortex until we find the area that controls your thumb movement. You’ll feel your hand and/or fingers twitch as we move the treatment coil around that area until we find that exact area where we see thumb movement. It is completely safe and will not cause any twitching or tremors outside of when we are trying to. Once we find the spot we want to treat, we adjust what’s called the motor threshold to see the exact setting we need to give you the best possible effect for your treatment.
Throughout the mapping, you’ll have to wear a TMS mapping cap. It looks a lot like a swim cap, and we use it to help the TMS mapping sessions go by significantly faster. Additionally, we’ll have you rest your right hand on our MT detect. This device helps us notice when your fingers twitch and also cuts down significantly on the total mapping time. With these newer technologies, patient mappings usually take about 15 minutes. Directly after the patient mapping, we’ll start with your very first treatment (which should take an additional 20 minutes in most cases).
Whenever you are here for TMS mappings or TMS treatment, we always have doctors and skilled TMS Coordinators nearby to answer any questions and assist in any way they can. To learn more about TMS, ask any questions, or find out how to get started with treatment please contact us at (212) 707-8662 or email us at [email protected]!