TMS Therapy for the Treatment of Depression


TMS, or Transcranial magnetic stimulation, is a non-drug alternative for the treatment of depression. TMS is a short outpatient procedure which uses pulsed magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells within the area of the brain thought to control mood. TMS Therapy is performed under the supervision of a psychiatrist while the patient remains awake and alert. The typical treatment course consists of 5 treatments per week over a 4-6 week period for 20-30 treatments. Each treatment session lasts approximately 37 minutes.

The treating clinician positions a treatment coil over the left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain thought to be involved with mood regulation. Through the treatment coil, the TMS Therapy system generates highly concentrated, magnetic fields which turn on and off rapidly. These magnetic fields are the same type and strength as those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.

How it Works

TMS Therapy is a precisely targeted treatment. During TMS Therapy, magnetic field pulses are generated and aimed at the left prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that has been demonstrated to function abnormally in patients with depression. This targeted treatment method allows for precise stimulation, minimizing the stimulation of brain tissue not involved in mood.

This magnetic field created in TMS Therapy is the same type and strength as those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. The magnetic fields produced by the TMS Therapy system affect tissue only about 2-3 centimeters into the brain directly beneath the treatment coil. The magnetic field pulses pass unimpeded through the hair, skin, and skull and into the brain.

Once inside the brain, the magnetic field pulses induce an electrical current to flow. The amount of electricity created is very small and cannot be felt by the patient, but these small electrical charges cause the neurons to become active and are thought to lead to the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine which have a role in the regulation of mood.

Advantages of TMS Therapy

At TriState TMS we understand that traditional psychopharmacological treatments for depression may not be suitable for all patients. Medication may cause unwanted side-effects such as sexual dysfunction, dizziness, dry mouth, headache, insomnia or sleepiness, weight gain or loss, nausea, and nervousness. Additionally, medication, along with other treatments such as psychotherapy, may not be particularly effective or achieve satisfactory results in certain patients.

TMS Therapy is advantageous as it is a safe, non-invasive treatment (meaning that it does not involve surgery) for depression that uses highly focused, pulsed magnetic fields to stimulate function in targeted brain regions. Furthermore, it does not require the use of any form of medication. The procedure does not require anesthesia or sedation, and the patient remains awake and alert during the entire treatment.

In clinical trials, TMS Therapy caused very few side effects and was generally well tolerated by patients. The most common side effect reported during clinical trials was scalp pain or discomfort - generally mild to moderate and occurring less frequently after the first week of treatment. Less than 5% of patients discontinued TMS Therapy due to adverse events.

Across all clinical trials, over 10,000 active treatments have been safely performed with:

      No seizures
      No systemic side effects
        - no weight gain
        - no sexual dysfunction
        - no sedation
        - no nausea
        - no dry mouth

      No adverse effects on concentration or memory
      No device-drug interactions

TriState TMS is excited to offer this drug-free outpatient procedure indicated for the treatment of depression - TMS Therapy or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy. Our central office location, Fort Lee, New Jersey, is only a short distance from the five boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island) and Connecticut. If you are suffering from depression and require or prefer a drug-free approach to treatment, please contact us at (201) 667-4948 or visit our website at

This article was written for by TriState TMS.


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