Skip to main content

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

What Is TMS?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a procedure where a large electromagnetic coil is placed against the patients scalp near their forehead where electric currents stimulate nerve cells in the region of the brain involved in mood control and depression. TMS is an alternative treatment for treatment resistant mood disorders, like depression, and works best in patients who have failed to benefit from one, but not two or more, antidepressant medication treatments.

While electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) uses an electric current to induce a seizure, TMS creates a magnetic field to induce a much smaller electric current in a specific part of the brain without causing seizure or loss of consciousness.

TMS is a treatment that has been FDA approved since 2008. More than 18,000 patients have been treated with TMS Therapy.

Find a Psychiatrist

Who Is a Candidate for TMS?

TMS is a 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.

How TMS Work?

TMS is a treatment series of 30 treatments done over a span of four to five weeks. Treatments are done on an outpatient basis here at HMHI (formerly UNI). Treatments are scheduled daily Monday–Friday for five to six weeks. Treatments take approximately 45–60 minutes from the time of arrival at your appointment.

What to Expect Day of Treatment

The patient will sit in a dentist-like chair that reclines comfortably, 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.

During treatment, the patient hears a clicking sound and feels a tapping sensation on the head. The actual stimulation only lasts four seconds and is spaced out every 25 seconds. The treatment time varies per patient and is about 30-45 minutes. The patient can immediately resume normal activities and can drive themselves to and from treatments.

Other information can be obtained at the company’s website.

Are There Side Effects From TMS?

Research has shown that TMS produces few side effects and is both safe and effective for medication-resistant depression. The most common side effect associated with TMS therapy is temporary pain or discomfort at or near the treatment site during treatment. When this occurs, it is temporary, and typically occurs only during the first week of treatment.

Other side effects occurring in more than five percent of patients are eye pain, toothache, muscle twitch, facial pain, and pain of the skin. TMS therapy should not be used with patients who have non-removable conductive metal or stimulator implants in or near the head or patients who have active or inactive implants such as deep brain stimulators, cochlear implants, and vagus nerve stimulators.

What Is the Cost of TMS?

Insurance coverage varies greatly and many insurance companies do not currently cover TMS. Our staff will contact your insurance company to see if we can obtain an authorization. If your insurance company does not cover TMS, you can appeal your case or agree to pay the discounted self-pay rate for all 30 TMS treatments. This amount is due at time of service. For more information regarding insurance coverage and financial responsibility, please contact our office.