What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-invasive treatment that uses strong magnetic waves to stimulate electrical activity in brain tissues thereby activating brain activity. The treatment session lasts anywhere between 3 mins and 20 mins and the recommended course is 5 days a week for 6 weeks.

Can I drive to and from the appointment by myself?

This is a very common question and Yes you can drive right after the procedure.

How quickly does TMS help depression?

Most patients who respond to TMS show a response in 2 to 4 weeks.

What are the contraindications for TMS?

-Seizures disorders or any condition that increases risks for seizures

-Any metal implant or cardiac defibrillators or implanted electronic devices

-Mental health conditions such as active substance use disorders and psychotic disorders.

Is TMS safe?

TMS has an excellent safety profile. It does not require anesthesia. The most common side effects are headaches, lightheadedness or dizziness, scalp or face twitching and tingling sensation and scalp discomfort. It can cause hearing loss and ear protection is highly recommended. The most serious and dangerous side effect from TMS is seizures and we screen everyone to ensure that they do not have conditions that predispose them to seizures from TMS. 

Who are good candidates for TMS?

TMS is FDA cleared for treatment resistant Major Depressive Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Treatment resistance is defined differently by different insurance companies. Medicare defines it as failure to respond to 2 adequate trials with antidepressants AND failure to respond to at least one course of evidence based psychotherapy.

Do I need to continue my antidepressants while doing TMS?

Depression is often a recurrent illness and the recommendation is to to continue medications and other therapies during and after the course of TMS. TMS can be conceptualized as an augmenting treatment to your current treatment.

What is the success rate with TMS?

TMS is not a cure for depression and it does not help everybody with treatment resistant depression. Studies show that it is roughly helpful for 50% of patients with treatment resistant depression. It falls between antidepressants (about 30-35%) and Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) which is effective in about 60-65%of patients with treatment resistant depression.

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