Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

What Is TMS?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression. Transcranial magnetic stimulation may be tried when other depression treatments haven’t worked.

With TMS, a large electromagnetic coil is placed against your scalp near your forehead. The electromagnet used in TMS creates electric currents that stimulate nerve cells in the region of your brain involved in mood control and depression.

Is TMS Right For You?

Depression is a treatable condition, but sometimes standard treatments aren’t effective. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may be used when standard treatments such as medications and talk therapy (psychotherapy) don’t work.

TMS helps relieve through magnetic pulses that stimulate nerve cells in the region of your brain involved in mood control. This stimulation appears to affect how this part of the brain is working, which in turn seems to ease depression symptoms and improve mood.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is the least invasive of the brain-stimulation procedures used for depression. Unlike vagus nerve stimulation or deep brain stimulation, TMS doesn’t require surgery or implantation of electrodes. And, unlike electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), it doesn’t cause seizures or require complete sedation with anesthesia.

What To Expect?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is usually done on an outpatient basis in a doctor’s office or clinic. It requires a series of treatment sessions to be effective. Generally, sessions are carried out daily, five times a week for four to six weeks.

Before treatment begins, your doctor will need to identify the best place to put the magnets on your head and the best dose of magnetic energy for you.

Most likely, during your first appointment:

  • You’ll be taken to a treatment room. You’ll be asked to sit in a reclining chair, and you’ll be given earplugs to wear during the procedure.
  • An electromagnetic coil will be placed against your head. The electromagnetic coil is switched off and on repeatedly to produce stimulating pulses. This results in a tapping or clicking sound that usually lasts for a few seconds, followed by a pause. You’ll also feel a tapping sensation on your forehead. This part of the process is called mapping.
  • The amount of magnetic energy needed will be determined. Your doctor will increase the magnetic dose until your fingers or hands twitch. Known as your motor threshold, this is used as a reference point in determining the right dose for you. During the course of treatment, the amount of stimulation can be changed

Here’s what to expect during each treatment:

  • You’ll sit in a comfortable chair. The magnetic coil is placed against your head.
  • The machine will be turned on. You’ll hear clicking sounds and feel tapping on your forehead.
  • The procedure will last about 40 minutes. You’ll remain awake and alert. The entire appointment typically lasts about one to two hours.

After treatment, you can return to your normal daily activities.

Proven Physician Expertise In TMS

  • Treatment provided by Arthur Ramirez, MD. in his private office and may be appropriate for patients receiving services in one of our inpatient or outpatient programs.