TMS – Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

How do I start & What can I expect?

How do I get started?

The first step is to contact us to say you’re interested in TMS therapy. One of our Clinical Coordinators will take down your insurance information and a detailed history to help determine if you are eligible for TMS treatment. If you satisfy the criteria, you will be scheduled for a TMS evaluation with one of our senior clinicians. This evaluation will decide whether or not the treatment is right for you at this time. If the evaluating clinician thinks that you are a good candidate, we will contact your insurance company to verify coverage and to take care of any prior authorizations. After we receive clearance from your insurance, we can schedule your first TMS appointment!

What is a typical course of TMS treatment?

Your first session of TMS will last about 60 minutes: 20-30 minutes of preparation and 20-30 minutes of actual treatment. Subsequent sessions will be streamlined and should typically last 20 minutes, though the length of your session may vary depending on the treatment plan and the specific conditions being treated.

In order for treatment to be effective, we ask patients to be available 5 days a week (3 days minimum) for at least 6 weeks. A full TMS course of treatment consists of 36 treatments, with the final 6 treatments spaced out over several weeks.

What can I expect during TMS?

Your first session of TMS will involve a technician taking measurements for your personal TMS cap and asking questions pertaining to your health. After the measurements are done, the technician will take a motor threshold (MT). The MT is used to determine the intensity of your treatment. After preparations are done, you will be seated in a comfortable chair and have the option to engage in some form of entertainment of your choice (phone, books, etc). The TMS helmet will then be placed against your head and treatment will begin.

Some patients report that the pulses feel like someone “tapping” on their head. The treatment will continue to run for its prescribed time, after which the technician will remove the helmet and your cap and you will be free to continue your day. All subsequent treatments follow this format.

What are the side effects of TMS?

TMS therapy has very mild side effects. The most common side effect of TMS therapy includes facial twitching and scalp discomfort during treatment. These twitches occur only during treatment and do not continue after a TMS session. Other patients sometimes report a mild headache or some mild discomfort at the application site. These discomforts can be mitigated with a mild over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Tylenol or Advil.

Are there any special instructions after a TMS session?

There are no special instructions following a TMS session. Since TMS does not require anesthesia or any form of sedation, you are completely fine to immediately carry on with your day as you normally would. However, it is very important to keep your clinician informed of any alcohol or recreational drug use, as this can impact treatment. Your clinician will review this during the evaluation and subsequently at all TMS sessions.

What happens after I finish the 36 treatments?

After you complete your 36 treatments, a follow-up appointment will be scheduled with our psychiatric team. They will evaluate and interpret the data gathered during the treatments with you. Depending on how effective the treatment was, some patients may return for “touch-up” TMS treatments every few weeks or months. If TMS was ineffective, other options will be discussed, such as a change in medication or alternative therapies.


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