Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Clinic
The TMS Clinic provides high quality, evidence based TMS treatment on a fee for service basis. TMS treatments take place 5 days a week at the Black Dog Institute and are available to patients who have depression and other psychiatric disorders suitable for TMS treatment.
TMS is an approved treatment for depression in multiple countries, including Australia, the United States, Canada, Israel, and the United Kingdom.
Professor Colleen Loo and the Sydney Neurostimulation Centre are leaders in Australia and internationally in the use of TMS to treat depression and other mental illnesses. The Sydney Neurostimulation Centre team has also taught and trained many TMS practitioners across Australia and internationally now providing TMS treatment.
History of the project
A large body of research conducted worldwide and at our centre indicates that TMS has antidepressant effects when applied over the frontal areas of the brain. It is now an approved treatment for depression in Australia by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
Our centre led the first Australian randomised controlled trials of TMS to treat depression, commencing in 1997 under the leadership of psychiatrist Colleen Loo, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales.
There are now well over 30 studies in adults with depression, showing that TMS is an effective treatment for depression. It is understood that TMS works by modifying and rebalancing activity across brain networks, which has become altered in depression.
The TMS Clinic has been running since December 2014 and provides best practice delivery of TMS. People referred to the TMS Clinic can expect a detailed psychiatric assessment which will include an evaluation of their diagnosis, past and current mental health treatment, and their overall functioning and well-being.
Based on this assessment, the Clinic team will make recommendations regarding the suitability of TMS and other treatments as an option.
TMS is a non-invasive form of brain stimulation that involves using a magnetic coil to stimulate the brain. Sessions typically last around 30 minutes. A course of at least 20 sessions over consecutive weekdays is typically recommended for therapeutic results.
Some patients elect to go on to have maintenance treatment at less frequent intervals. Patients receive ongoing monitoring during the course of treatment. Information regarding depressive symptoms and any potential side-effects of TMS will be gathered in order to monitor patient wellbeing and clinical progress, as well as to continuously improve the TMS Clinic's practices.
At present the Black Dog Institute provides treatment on a fee-for-service basis. When patients are first referred, the clinical assessment by the TMS Clinic doctors is fully or partially Medicare rebatable.
TMS treatment costs $160 per session and is not Medicare rebatable or covered by private health insurance. An initial ‘dosing’ session to determine TMS treatment intensity is $200. Usual treatment is five days a week with courses of treatment lasting four to six weeks. Maintenance therapy (to prevent relapse once improved) is also available.