Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?

TMS has been shown to be a safe and well-tolerated procedure that can be an effective treatment for patients with depression who have not benefitted from antidepressant medications or cannot tolerate antidepressant medications due to side-effects. TMS treatments stimulate nerve cells by delivering painless, electromagnetic impulses to specific regions of the brain that are associated with depression and mood.

TMS Procedure

TMS therapy procedure is done on an outpatient basis and doesn't require anesthetic. Patients are awake and have a plastic-encased magnetic coil placed just above the scalp. Magnetic pulses are repeatedly delivered, stimulating the nerve cells. There may be a tingling or tapping sensation in the scalp during the TMS procedure. Patients sit in a reclining chair, apply ear plugs and relax. TMS therapy treatments are about 40 minutes long, 5 times a weeks for approximately 4-6 weeks. During the initial appointment, the physician meets with the patient and determines the best areas to place the magnets. During treatments the patient remains awake and alert. After treatments, the patient can return to normal activities, including driving and working.

Are there side effects?

There are no known risks to TMS, as it is a non-invasive procedure. It is generally well tolerated but some side effects may be: scalp discomfort, headache, and lightheadedness, tingling or twitching in the face.

What is the success rate?

In FDS clinical trials, TMS has been shown to be very effective. It is reported that 1 in 2 patients treated experience significant improvement in depressive symptoms, and 1 in 3 patients experience complete relief.

Who can benefit from TMS?

Patients who have been diagnosed with severe depression and not responded to medication are ideal candidates for TMS. However, TMS therapy is not appropriate for all patients. A medical screening will be done to ensure patients are safe for the procedure. The screening may include a physical exam and laboratory tests.

Request an Appointment

To learn more and find out if TMS is right for you, call San Antonio Behavioral Healthcare Hospital Outpatient Services at 210-541-5289. Our outpatient team will obtain appropriate patient information and schedule an appointment.