What Is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation? (TMS)

TMS is an FDA approved treatment [since 2008] for adults who suffer from major depressive disorder and who have failed to find relief from anti-depressants. It is an office procedure where magnetic pulses target the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

Most patients require 20 to 30 treatments to emerge from depression, over 4 to 6 weeks. The treatment lasts about a half hour, has few side effects, and patients can resume their normal day going to work, to school, etc.

Unlike medication, TMS has very few side effects except headache. Sometimes there is a mild headache after the first couple of treatments. There is a rare risk of seizures that occurs in about 1/10,000 treatments and is more common in someone with a history of seizures.

WHEN IS TMS USED

TMS is used when advised by your psychiatrist and usually after more traditional forms of treatments have failed and/or could not be tolerated.

Before treating your depression with TMS your psychiatrist, and the TMS Brain Care Team will discuss with you the possible benefits of treatment and explain to you what you may experience.

While TMS does not work for everyone, it does work for the majority of people. Results are not instantaneous, and it may take 2 or more weeks to begin to notice improvement. However, once improvement in your depression is noticed that improvement seems to intensify.

What to Expect from TMS therapy?

The Consultation:

Your doctor and you, in collaboration, will decide if TMS may be right for you. You will then meet one of our therapists who will take a full history and conduct an evaluation, which will include objective tests and scales for depression, fatigue etc. This will be done regularly during your treatment as well to monitor your progress. We will then attempt to obtain prior authorization from your insurance. You also have the option of financing your TMS treatment. You will then watch a video of the TMS procedure and be given an opportunity to ask any questions. Our TMS specialist and your doctor will answer any questions you may have.

Treatments

A doctor and TMS specialists will measure the location of treatment and determine the amount of electromagnetic pulse that will be most beneficial to you. It is done by placing the coil on your head and producing one magnetic pulse while watching for movements in the hand and fingers.

During subsequent treatments a coil will be placed on your head. The TMS machine will be set to your specific treatment measurements. You will hear a clicking noise and feel tapping on your head.

Treatment lasts 20-40 minutes and are conducted daily, 5 days a week for 4-6 weeks (20-30 sessions). Some patients may benefit from maintenance therapy after their initial treatment course. Please make sure you attend the full course of therapy to get the most benefit from treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

IS TMS THERAPY UNCOMFORTABLE?

We take every precaution to begin our pulses at the lowest possible intensity while increasing it as necessary depending on how the brain responds to the magnetic pulses

Is TMS right for me?

If you suffer from Major Depression and have not found a satisfactory treatment with antidepressant medication, TMS may be the next best step for you.

Does TMS cause memory loss?

No, there is no memory loss known to correspond with TMS therapy.

What are the side effects of TMS Therapy?

TMS is well tolerated and associated with few side effects. The most common side effect is experiencing headaches after the first two or three treatments. This is because the brain is not used to experiencing targeted magnetic pulses. After the first week of treatment, however, the vast majority of patients stop experiencing headaches over the course of treatment.

OBHI Team

Please contact us if you have any questions or referrals. We look forward to hearing from you.