What to Expect
For an individual who has not responded to antidepressant medications, or cannot tolerate their side effects, TMS may be a safe and effective alternative. TMS therapy is available by prescription only and is delivered under the supervision of a psychiatrist.
A typical course of treatment involves 30 treatments given Monday through Friday over a span of four to six weeks. The noninvasive, outpatient treatment lasts approximately 18 minutes and is performed while the patient rests comfortably in a reclining chair in the doctor’s office.
The magnet makes a sound while generating the magnetic pulses, and patients may feel a light tapping sensation on their head. The most common side effects are scalp discomfort and a mild headache, but side effects usually resolve in the first week. There is a very small risk of a seizure, but only about 1 out of every 1000 patients.
- The patient reclines comfortably in the treatment chair, awake and alert.
- A small curved device containing the magnetic coil rests lightly on the patient’s head.
- The device delivers focused magnetic stimulation directly to the target areas of the brain.
- The patient can immediately resume normal activities.