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COVID-19/Coronavirus Update

Overview of the virus

COVID-19 is an illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus. It is believed to spread in ways similar to the common cold—such as through coughs, sneezes, or handshakes. We are following established infection prevention protocols and remain prepared to care for patients. We have trained and practiced for these scenarios. When you enter our clinic, you may see certain staff members wearing masks. This is a preventative measure. Patients who exhibit any respiratory symptoms will also be asked to wear masks and will be rescheduled for non-emergent appointments.

Important Information about your upcoming appointment:

Keep Your Scheduled Appointments

You should not avoid seeking necessary care out of concerns about COVID-19 and you should keep your appointments unless otherwise instructed by your physician. However, if you are experiencing symptoms or think you've been exposed to COVID-19, call your doctor before going to your appointment.

If We Need to Reschedule

Your Appointment
As things evolve, we may reach out to reschedule clinic visits or procedures. In the event that we need to reschedule your appointment, we will call you.

Keep Taking Your Medications

We recommend that you continue taking all medications, as prescribed, unless otherwise instructed by your physician. Contact your physician if you have questions. While you are visiting our office, please remember to follow the CDC’s guidelines concerning social distancing and hand hygiene to protect yourself and others.

EFFECTIVE 3/23/2020 - 4/9/2020:

We will be reducing our office hours and will be open from 8am-2pm. If you have an urgent matter outside of these hours, please call 911. If you need to speak with us about a non-urgent matter, please call our office between the hours of 8am-2pm.

At Sandhills Neurologists, we are committed to helping our patients by using the best and the latest technology. Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS) is an innovative technique used by clinicians to accomplish drug-free depression treatment.

dTMS for Depression: Groundbreaking Technology

While medications to treat depression have been available for many years and continue to be used in many patients’ treatment plans, they are not without potential side effects.

In recent years, researchers have focused on devising ways to directly stimulate the brain pathways responsible for depression and they have seen promising results with an innovative treatment method based on MRI technology called dTMS.

Administered via a special helmet placed on the patient’s head, dTMS works by sending magnetic impulses intended to “jump start” electrical activity into areas of the brain responsible for depression.

Sandhills Neurologists is proud to offer the Brainsway Deep TMS System (dTMS) to patients. This treatment has been cleared by the FDA for the treatment of adult patients suffering from Major Depressive Disorder.

Benefits of dTMS over traditional approaches:

  • Safer
  • Non-Invasive
  • Highly effective
  • More efficient
  • Zero side effects
  • No sedation involved in treatment
  • Outpatient based

Is dTMS covered by insurance?

The FDA has approved dTMS for the treatment of depression as long as it falls within certain guidelines. Different insurance companies have varying policies regarding what they cover and how they define the criteria. Talk to your health insurance company for specific details of your coverage. Our TMS patient care coordinator will happy to answer any specific questions you may have.

Call 844-HELP-TMS to set up an appointment with our TMS coordinator and see if dTMS is right for you. Or contact us at the link below.

Videos About Depression Treatment Using dTMS

dTMS Frequently Asked Questions

Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (Deep TMS) is a noninvasive technique used to apply brief magnetic pulses to the brain. The pulses are administered by passing high currents through an electromagnetic coil placed adjacent to a patient’s scalp. The pulses induce an electric field in the underlying brain tissue. When the induced field is above a certain threshold, and is directed in an appropriate orientation relative to the brain’s neuronal pathways, the neurons in the relevant brain structure are activated. Deep TMS is based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology, which has been used clinically for over 20 years.

The patient is asked to sit in a chair and relax. He is asked to remove any magnetic-sensitive objects. A helmet containing a magnetic coil is then placed on the patient’s head and positioned to target a specific area in the brain. He can talk to the technician or read. Patients are required to wear earplugs during treatment.

Since the treatment is targeted to specific areas in the brain, there are no systemic side effects. No drugs are being circulated in the body and there is no need for anesthesia. Some patients may experience mild headaches, but they usually diminish over the course of the treatment. Over the counter medications may be taken to help relieve them. During the treatment the patient will feel a tapping sensation on the scalp while the machine makes a ticking noise, much like an MRI.

The patient should be referred by his psychiatrist if he is being seen by one, if not, then the patient can call and make an appointment for a consult on his own. The actual treatments are administered by certified technicians who are well versed in TMS, and Drs Tellez and Chintalapudi closely monitor the progress.

At the first session, the technician administers several brief pulses to measure the patient’s motor threshold. The motor threshold is the minimum amount of power necessary to make the patient’s thumb twitch, and varies from individual to individual. Measuring the motor threshold helps the technician personalize the treatment settings and determine the amount of energy required to stimulate brain cells.

TMS therapy involves a series of treatment sessions. Each session lasts for approximately 20 minutes, and is administered five days a week. A typical course of dTMS lasts 4 to 6 weeks. However, this can vary depending on individual patient variables.

The patient is required to come for treatment every day for a minimum of four weeks. Since the treatment is done as an outpatient procedure without the need for any anesthesia, the patient can drive himself back to work or carry on his daily activities after the session is over. This causes minimal disruption to patient’s routine and lifestyle.

Patients with any type of non-removable metal in their heads (with the exception of braces or dental fillings), should not receive dTMS. Example of metal implants include but are not limited to: Aneurysm clips, Stents in the neck or brain, Cardiac pacemakers etc. Failure to follow this rule could cause the object to heat up, move, or malfunction, and may result in serious injury or death. There are other factors that may result in an exclusion but the TMS Coordinator will go over your medical history with you to ensure that treatment is safe and appropriate.

Several studies have shown statistically significant improvement in depression symptoms.

FDA has approved dTMS for the treatment of depression as long as it falls within certain guidelines. Different insurance companies have varying policies regarding what they cover and how they define the criteria. Talk to your health insurance company for specific details of your coverage. Our TMS patient care coordinator will happy to answer any specific questions you may have regarding the finances.

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