Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

UW Health Psychiatry and Psychology uses the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) system to treat depression in some patients who have not responded to anti-depressants.


What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?


During the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation procedure, an electromagnetic coil is placed near the forehead. The coil delivers a magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the part of the brain associated with depression and mood. The magnetic field activates neurons which can improve the symptoms of depression.


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation typically is an outpatient procedure, with 30-minute sessions delivered five days per week for four to six weeks.


Who can benefit from Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation may help patients with treatment-resistant depression and those who haven’t responded well to medication. It may be alternative for patients who do not want to take medication.


Things to Think About

  • Not all patients respond to this treatment.
  • Patients sometimes experience mild to moderate side effects, including headaches, lightheadedness, tingling or discomfort during the procedure. The discomfort improves shortly after the session.
  • Patients have to make trips to the clinic five days per week for at least four weeks.
  • Prior Authorization may be required.