What is TMS?
The treatment is called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). It uses electromagnetic fields to normalize brain activity by stimulating neurons associated with mental illness. During TMS, an electromagnetic coil is placed on the patient’s head. A small electric current runs through the coil and generates a magnetic field, which stimulates a small area of brain cells that are commonly associated with mood and emotion. As the magnetic current passes through the skull and into the brain, this induces brief activity of brain cells underlying the treatment coil.
This process improves how the mood center neurons function over time.3,4,5,6
Approximately 50% to 60% of patients with treatment-resistant depression experience an improvement with TMS treatment. About one-third of these individuals experience a full recovery, meaning that their symptoms go away completely. Some symptoms recur with time; however, most maintain recovery after treatment for more than a year. Further treatment is available for those with recurring symptoms.4 TMS is done in an office setting while the patient is awake and does not require needles, surgery, or anesthesia. The treatment does not cause significant discomfort and can work alongside current medications. Since nothing except pure energy enters the body, TMS treatment is free of the side effects of antidepressant medications.