Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is FDA approved [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 no side effects, and patients are able to resume their normal day going to work, to school, etc.
Unlike medication, TMS has virtually no side effects. Sometimes there is a mild headache after the first couple of treatments. The only significant risk is of TMS causing an epileptic seizure during treatment.
This occurs in about 1/10,000 treatments and is much more common in someone with a history of seizures or severe heat trauma.
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, Dr. McMullen and the TMS Braincare team will discuss with you the possible benefits of treatment and explain to you what you may experience. The final decision of whether or not you try this treatment is entirely up to you.