What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?

NeuroStar TMS Therapy is a new treatment cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients suffering from depression who have not achieved satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant treatment. TMS stands for “transcranial magnetic stimulation.” It’s drug-free and doesn’t bring the side effects that can come from antidepressant medications. TMS is a safe and effective solution for treatment-resistant depression.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive form of brain stimulation in which a changing magnetic field is used to cause electric current at a specific area of the brain through electromagnetic induction. An electric pulse generator, or stimulator, is connected to a magnetic coil, which in turn is connected to the scalp. The stimulator generates a changing electric current within the coil which induces a magnetic field; this field then causes a second inductance of inverted electric charge within the brain itself. TMS has shown diagnostic and therapeutic potential in the central nervous system with a wide variety of disease states in neurology and mental health, with research still evolving.


How and Where TMS Therapy is Performed

TMS Therapy is a treatment that can be performed in a psychiatrist’s office, under his or her supervision, using a medical device called the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system. NeuroStar TMS Therapy is:

  • Non-invasive, meaning that it does not involve surgery. It does not require any anesthesia or sedation, as the patient remains awake and alert during the treatment.
  • Non-systemic, meaning that it is not taken by mouth and does not circulate in the bloodstream throughout the body.



The Average TMS Therapy Treatment Course

The typical initial treatment course consists of at least 5 treatments per week over a 6-8 week period, for an average of 20-30 total treatments. Each treatment session lasts approximately 20-30 minutes, depending on what the doctor determines is the correct protocol for the patient’s needs.

Take the free TMS self-assessment to see if TMS Therapy might be the right depression treatment for you or a loved one, or would like to learn more.

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TMS+YOU is an online community and national patient advocacy site for TMS Therapy. Those considering Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation can connect with patients who have had the treatment to answer questions, share insights, and get the latest information.