tms faqs

What does TMS treat?

Since 2008, TMS has been FDA-approved to treat severe depression, especially cases that have been resistant to medication.

Am I a good candidate for TMS?

TMS is a good alternative for patients who have failed medication trials for depression or have difficulty tolerating drug side effects.  

Will TMS work for me?

TMS have been proven effective in nearly two-thirds of patients, but not all patients may benefit.  

How does TMS work?

TMS uses an insulated magnetic coil placed over your head to help stimulate parts of your brain.  In short, it "massages" and activates areas of the prefrontal cortex that are believed to be underactive in patients with depression.  

What is a typical TMS treatment course?

The treatment course for each patient varies.  Traditional TMS typically involves up to 36 sessions performed daily (M-F) for about 30 minutes.  Theta Burst (TBS) also involves up to 36 sessions but require less than 15 minutes each.  

Is TMS uncomfortable?

The most common side effect is headache and/or scalp discomfort during treatment sessions. These side effects generally decrease in intensity and frequency after the first several weeks.  If necessary, this discomfort can be treated with an over-the-counter pain medication.  Studies have shown that less than 5% of patients have discontinued treatment due to side effects.

What are the potential risks of TMS?

TMS has been proven to be very safe.  There is an extremely small risk of seizure (1 in 10000), but this risk is no different than treatment with anti-depressants.  

Is TMS like ECT?

No, TMS is very different from electroconvulsive (shock) therapy.  Unlike shock therapy, TMS does not induce a seizure, does not require anesthesia, does not require post-op recovery, and does not cause memory loss or short-term confusion.  Since there is no sedation, patients can travel unaccompanied after treatment.

Does TMS cause brain cancer?

No, TMS uses magnetic fields like an MRI which has been used countless millions of times around the world without causing tumors.  

Any other questions?

Please don't hesitate to contact us.  We would be happy to address any of your questions or concerns. We look forward to speaking with you.

© 2018 by Acacia Mental Health  |  Tel: 650.993.9996  |  Fax: 650.999.0939

Sunnyvale Office:  877 W. Fremont Ave. Ste. J-1, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

Fremont Office:  39210 State Street #200, Fremont, CA 94538

If there is a medical or psychiatric emergency, please call 9-1-1 instead.