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Rady Children's Specialists

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Laboratory

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a novel technology that allows for non-invasive brain stimulation to identify motor and language areas of the brain. This is accomplished by use of a light electrical current (which feels like a gentle tap to the scalp) that is able to pass through the scalp and skull in order to target specific areas of the brain for activation. It’s generally used to help people with depression symptoms and with symptoms of mood disorders.

Medical professionals at Rady Children’s Hospital uses the navigated TMS (nTMS) Nexstim system which allows for non-invasive brain stimulation and real time visualization of precisely which areas will be activated.  This is accomplished by utilizing your child’s brain MRI with the sensor camera on the Nexstim machine to identify areas to be stimulated in real time on a 3D rendering of your child’s brain within 2 mm of accuracy. The areas stimulated are recorded, as well as possible motor responses (areas of the brain that control limbs) or language production responses. The final brain maps of motor functions and/or language responses are provided to your neurosurgeon for further evaluation prior to the surgical date.

Our Hospital is one of the few pediatric hospitals in the country that provides this TMS treatment technology to help guide neurosurgeons and neurologists in surgical planning prior to children with epilepsy surgery or tumor resection. In addition to aiding children with depression symptoms and with symptoms of mood disorders, this technology allows for avoidance of important areas of brain function, if possible, and facilitates physicians in providing more information to families in surgical counseling.

This procedure from medical professionals is typically very well tolerated by young patients. They are awake in a reclining chair similar to a dentist’s chair. A head tracker is placed on your child and various areas of the head are registered into the system using a camera that tracks the head tracker as well as a special wand with sensors.

The brain activity data gathered from TMS is then fused with your child’s brain MRI, which can identify areas responsible for the movement of limbs and speech production.

For information on how to prepare for a day of this type of brain stimulation procedure, click here.

For a brochure on NexStim Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for brain mapping, click here.