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Does a Brain Scan Make TMS Better?

A brain scan

TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) continues to demonstrate an incredible success rate at treating patients with depression – including patients with severe depression or treatment-resistant depression.

Ever since TMS was first approved by the FDA for depression treatment in 2008, researchers have continued to introduce new improvements to make TMS even more effective. New TMS devices with different designs have been introduced and every aspect of the TMS protocol has been examined and studied for ways to optimize patient results.

But one of the biggest improvements to TMS doesn’t involve a TMS device at all. An EEG (electroencephalogram) brain scan performed before TMS treatment and at regular intervals throughout treatment has been one of the newest – and best – improvements to TMS treatment.

Why does an EEG brain scan help with depression treatment?

An EEG looks at the electrical activity of the brain. The process is completely non-invasive and works by placing electrodes on the scalp. The electrodes detect the electrical signals generated by the firing of neurons in the brain.

The imaging pattern recorded during the EEG session is analyzed for patterns, abnormalities, and specific features that may indicate various neurological conditions. A trained professional can examine the EEG and identify issues such as depression, anxiety, tinnitus, epilepsy, sleep disorders, and other issues.

Why patients should insist on an EEG as part of TMS treatment

In order for TMS to produce the best possible outcome it must be precisely targeted at specific areas of the brain responsible for regulating mood. Every person’s brain is unique; therefore, the exact location to target is slightly different in every patient. Being off by just a few millimeters can make treatment less effective.

Older forms of TMS treatment use the motor threshold method to identify the area to target. This involves repeatedly adjusting the TMS device until a satisfactory patient response is located. The level of response is often subject to individual interpretation and relies on the skill and experience of the TMS technician to locate the correct area.

Using an EEG to improve TMS positioning is a newer method that allows for consistently precise delivery to the desired area of the brain. At Inland Empire TMS, we use the EEG method for all patients because it provides us with better information about the patient condition, allows for precise location targeting throughout treatment, and provides a visual record of patient progress throughout treatment.

Improving TMS Safety and Outcomes

In addition to improving treatment targeting, the brain scans we perform help in other areas as well. Some additional reasons brain scans are useful as part of TMS treatment include:

Enhanced Safety

By assessing the patient’s brain function prior to starting TMS, we can identify any abnormalities or contraindications that may affect the safety of TMS treatment. This proactive approach helps ensure that TMS is administered safely and accurately to each patient.

Patient Motivation

It can take several weeks of regular TMS treatment to produce a noticeable result. Patients often wonder if treatment is working. By comparing the pre-TMS brain scan with recent scans taken during treatment, patients can visually see the changes in brain activity over time. Seeing verification of changes taking place in the brain helps provide the motivation to continue treatment, even when you don’t feel a noticeable improvement yet in depression or anxiety levels.

Wealth of Information

At Inland Empire TMS, we conduct the EEG scan along with standard mental health assessments, such as the PHQ-9 and GAD-7, which assess depression and anxiety. Together, this information gives us a more accurate picture of a patient’s condition before, during, and after treatment. This information is used by our clinical team to customize treatment to a patient’s exact needs.

New Patient Offer: Free Brain Scan and Assessment

We believe so strongly in the value of conducting an EEG and full panel of mental health assessments that we are offering a free brain scan for new patients, with no strings attached.

We know the power of visually seeing the test results that validate what you’ve been feeling. In fact, the test results may even identify areas of concern that haven’t even been on your radar. Your mental health will benefit greatly from conducting a free brain scan and mental health evaluation at Inland Empire TMS.

Free Mental Health Evaluation – Murrieta

For those living in Murrieta, Temecula, or nearby areas, you can take advantage of a free mental health evaluation and EEG brain scan at Inland Empire TMS in Murrieta, California. This free evaluation provides valuable information that will help you understand your brain function and help identify areas of concern. The information gained from this evaluation can be used to determine appropriate mental health treatment for any conditions diagnosed. While we welcome and encourage patients to receive treatment at Inland Empire TMS, you are under no obligation to do so.

Please contact Inland Empire TMS today to schedule your free brain scan and mental health evaluation.

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