What is TMS?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a series of repetitive brief and highly focused magnetic pulses, designed to stimulate brain cells.
How does it work?
In depressed patients, the electrical activity in certain
areas of the brain is shown to be reduced.
Using TMS targeted at these areas, we aim to re-awaken these cells, increasing brain activity to normal levels.
TMS uses a focused electromagnetic field to the targeted area. The magnetic pulses induce an electrical current in the brain, stimulating the cells into activity.
What is the difference between TMS and antidepressants?
Antidepressants are systemic, which means that the medication is absorbed into the blood stream. This can cause numerous side effects, many of which cause patients to discontinue antidepressant treatment.
On the other hand, TMS is a non-invasive, focused and localized treatment, so side effects are almost non-existent and only limited to mild temporary irritation and in some cases, a short-term minor headache following a treatment session. TMS is usually prescribed when antidepressants have failed, or when their side effects are intolerable.
Furthermore, antidepressants and medications seek to compensate for an imbalance in neuron activity or synaptic function, meaning that as soon as an antidepressant treatment is discontinued, symptoms and disfunction return. TMS therapy helps retrain neuron activity in disfunctional areas, leading to lasting effects years after treatment is finished.
Is TMS like ECT?
Both Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) and TMS are effective treatments for depression, but ECT has more side effects and is much more intense.
ECT must be performed in a hospital and both restraints and anesthesia are necessary. ECT delivers an electric pulse directly to the brain, medically inducing a seizure.
TMS uses focused magnetic fields to target a specific area. Patients remain awake and treatment is pain free.
Is it safe?
Absolutely! There are practically no side effects and we make sure this therapy is custom tailored to your specific diagnosis and your brain's anatomy. Although there is a small chance of limited and very mild side effects, we usually eliminate all side effects by being proactive and attentive.