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FAQs on tDCS

Who may benefit from tDCS?

Preliminary data suggest that patients with a variety of pain syndromes, including:

  • neuropathic pain
  • fibromyalgia
  • migraines

It has also been used for mood disorders and stroke rehabilitation.

How is tDCS administered?

It is a short, painless procedure. While you rest in a comfortable chair or exam table, two 2x2 or 2x4 inch electrodes are placed on your scalp with wires attached.

A constant-current electrical stimulator with about as much voltage as a 9-volt battery is applied for approximately 20 minutes. A slight itching sensation is sometimes felt breifly in the scalp.

The stimulation will be repeated for several consecutive days or sometimes up to several weeks depending on patient response.

Does insurance pay for tDCS?

You will be responsible for payment for tDCS at the time of service. A discount is given for several treatments paid in advance.

Since there is no specific procedure billing code for this new treatment, it is not yet covered by most insurance plans.

If you wish to try to get reimbursed by your insurance company, we will provide you with documentation.

What is the evidence that tDCS works?

There is early evidence that tDCS can help some patients with certain types of neuropathic pain. Numerous medical journal articles have evaluated the effect of tDCS in humans.

It has also been utilized successfully to treat a selected group of patients with migraines, fibromyalgia, depression and Parkinson’s disease.

Is this treatment safe?

Many patients have been treated with this procedure and no serious side effects have been reported to date. Very brief scalp itching may occur. Scalp irritation at the site of the electrodes can occur. On a few occasions, small, surface scalp burns have been reported.

There is little information about long-term outcome with this treatment. However, tDCS has been tested in thousands of subjects worldwide with no evidence of toxic effects to date, including studies which monitored cognitive (thinking) functions of the brain.

Brunoni et al, Brain Stimulation (2012) 5, 175–95

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