The UF comprehensive epilepsy program launched its transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) service in the summer of 2020. As part of only a handful of adult epilepsy centers possessing TMS technology, we are now able to perform ‘mapping’ of language or motor function in an entirely noninvasive way on an outpatient basis. Motor and language maps obtained by TMS can be invaluable in surgical decision making for epilepsy patients, in addition to other patient types, such as patients with brain tumors awaiting surgery.
TMS uses a small electromagnetic coil controlled by a computer program to deliver short bursts of magnetic energy focused precisely on specific brain locations. In areas responsible for language or motor function, these magnetic bursts produce a momentary alteration of language or elicit a motor response. In this way, eloquent brain areas can be identified, allowing our neurosurgeons to devise a safe strategy to minimize operative risk. In addition to being noninvasive, TMS has the important advantage of not requiring significant patient cooperation. It is therefore highly suited to those unable to tolerate functional MRI, patients otherwise challenged by complex testing requiring active responses, or in young children.
Information for Patients
A TMS mapping session takes about one to two hours and is usually scheduled as a half-day outpatient visit to our purpose TMS Neurodiagnostic laboratory. No specific patient preparation. Patients generally handle TMS well, and side effects are minimal. You may experience mild local pain and headache after a TMS session, but these symptoms are transient. Patients having a non-removable metal-containing implant in the head (e.g. cochlear implant, deep brain stimulator, responsive neurostimulation device or stent in the neck or brain) may not be suitable for TMS.
You would normally follow up with the doctor who requested the TMS testing. This will be a further opportunity for you to discuss the results obtained, and what those mean for the treatment of your condition.
Please email UFCEP@neurology.ufl.edu for more information on TMS – or any other aspect of our Neurodiagnostic services.