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Division of Depression and Anxiety Disorders

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Service

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) uses focused magnetic impulses to non-invasively stimulate the brain in the pre-frontal cortex (the region of the brain associated with mood regulation). TMS is non-invasive and requires no anesthesia or sedation. The procedure typically lasts less than an hour during which time patients are awake, alert and comfortable. There are no restrictions on work or other activity before the treatment. Because no medications are administered, there are no systemic effects or cognitive after-effects (memory difficulty or ability to concentrate), and therefore patients can return immediately to regular activity.

TMS servicePatients typically receive 20 to 30 treatments over four to six weeks (five times per week). There may also be a taper phase. The course of treatment will vary according to each individual. An initial assessment will determine the appropriate dose of the magnetic pulse and the exact area of the brain the coil should target. As the treatment progresses, the clinician will conduct periodic re-evaluations of the dose level and coil placement.

During a treatment session, the patient sits in a comfortable reclining chair. A headset is applied to deliver the magnetic stimulation. Ear plugs are also provided to decrease the loud clicks associated with each magnetic pulse. Patients are given the option to watch television, listen to music or simply relax during the treatment session. During treatment the patient is monitored continuously to ensure correct coil positioning and comfort level.

Our collaborative team approach is aimed at maximizing the effectiveness of psychotherapy, medication management and psychosocial treatments already offered at McLean with emerging techniques, technologies and interventions like TMS.