Transcranial magnetic stimulation

What is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive procedure used to treat depression and other types of mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. TMS is often used when other treatment options have been exhausted and have not been successful.

Why is transcranial magnetic stimulation performed?

TMS is performed on patients with depression who have not responded well to other treatment options, such as therapy or medication.

TMS helps to reduce symptoms of disorders such as depression, stress or OCD.

What is transcranial magnetic stimulation?

During a TMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed next to the scalp near the forehead. The device then sends magnetic pulses through the skull, stimulating nerve cells in the part of the brain linked to mood and depression. This procedure is painless.

The magnetic pulses have been shown to affect the way parts of the brain function, which helps alleviate symptoms related to mood and depression.

During the session, you sit in a chair and wear earplugs. The procedure lasts approximately 40 minutes, during which time you will be fully awake.

How to prepare for transcranial magnetic stimulation?

Transcranial magnetic stimulation will only be used after a physical examination and psychiatric evaluation.

There are some special circumstances in which EMT may not be appropriate:

  • You are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • You are taking medication
  • You have a history of seizures or epilepsy.
  • You have implanted metal devices (such as stents or hearing aids).
  • You have other mental health problems
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Aftercare after transcranial magnetic stimulation

After a TMS session, you can return to your normal activities immediately. If TMS is successful, you may notice your depression symptoms decreasing, but this may take a few weeks with treatment.

Are there alternative treatments to TMS?

TMS being a fairly experimental treatment option, medications and therapy are used first to help improve and alleviate symptoms of mental illness.