Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. TMS is typically used when other depression treatments haven’t been effective.

How Does TMS work?

During a TMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed against your scalp near your forehead. The electromagnet painlessly delivers a magnetic pulse that stimulates the nerve cells in the region of your brain involved in mood control and depression. It’s thought to activate regions of the brain that have decreased activity in depression.

Treatment Resistant Depression

Approximately 50% to 60% of people with depression who have tried and failed to receive benefit from medications experience a clinically meaningful response with TMS. About one-third of these individuals experience a full remission, meaning that their symptoms go away completely.

A Typical TMS Session

– Patient removes jewelry, wears ear plugs and sits in a comfortable chair
– A TMS cap is fitted on the patient’s head
– TMS Magnet is placed on the head which makes clicking sound and patient might feel gentle repetitive taps on the scalp
– First session is typically an hour. Subsequent sessions last 20-30 minutes
After the session is over, patients can return to their usual activities

Side Effects

Common Side Effects

Side effects are generally mild to moderate and improve shortly after an individual session and decrease over time with additional sessions. They may include headache, scalp discomfort at the site of stimulation, tingling, spasms or twitching of facial muscles, lightheadedness.

Your doctor can adjust the level of stimulation to reduce symptoms or may recommend that you take an over-the-counter pain medication before the procedure.

Uncommon Side Effects

Serious side effects are rare. They may include Seizures, Mania, particularly in people with bipolar disorder, Hearing loss if there is inadequate ear protection during treatment