What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?

TMS is a non-invasive treatment where magnetic pulses are delivered to stimulate nerve cells in the part of the brain controlling the mood, which is often underactive in patients with depression. Repeated stimulation of this part of the brain has proven to produce an antidepressant effect on people suffering from depression. TMS is also known also known as rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation) because more than one magnetic pulse is delivered to the brain during a treatment session.

TMS is free from common antidepressant drug side effects such as weight gain and sexual dysfunction.  TMS is not to be confused with ECT, and it does not affect cognitive function such as memory.

TMS Therapy consists of repeated cycles of TMS followed by rest periods.  Diagnosis and initial session is performed by a licensed physician. The remaining treatment sessions will typically be conducted by trained staff under the supervision of the physician.

TMS is non-invasive and does not require any anesthesia.  As there is no recovery period, the patient can immediately return to his or her usual activities.

Who is a candidate for TMS?

TMS is indicated for treatment of major depressive disorder in adult patients who have failed to receive satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medication in the current episode. TMS therapy is available by prescription only. Your doctor will use medication dosing records and depression scores among other measures to determine whether or not you are a candidate for TMS Therapy.

– Series of pulsed magnetic stimuli to the brain

– Safe, with high tolerability

– Free from common antidepressant drug side effects

– Most common side effects from TMS are headache and nausea

– Does not affect cognitive function

– Patients are able to resume daily activities right after treatment

– May be used with or without antidepressants (determined by your physician)

– Sessions are five times a week for four to six weeks.

What does TMS feel like?

Treatment begins in a reclined, relaxed position. When the magnetic pulses are delivered you hear a clicking sound and feel a tapping sensation on your head. Many patients are able to watch movies, read, or listen to music on their electronic devices during treatment.

How long does a TMS take?

TMS Therapy is offered as Express TMS which lasts 3 minutes or as standard TMS, lasting 19 minutes.  One treatment is given per day, 5 times per week, over a period of 4-6 weeks.