Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. What is it?

TMS is a safe and non-invasive treatment for depression using a pulsed magnetic field.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy is the first and only non-systemic and non-invasive treatment for depression. TMS was recently cleared by the FDA for the treatment of depressed patients who failed to receive adequate benefit from prior antidepressant medication.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation works by delivering highly focused MRI-strength magnetic pulses to non-invasively stimulate the left prefrontal cortex of the brain.  Patients being treated with TMS Therapy do not require anesthesia or sedation and remain awake and alert.  It is a 40-minute outpatient procedure and is typically administered daily for 4-6 weeks.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation has been demonstrated to be effective, safe, and tolerable in the treatment of depressed patients that have failed to receive adequate benefit from prior antidepressant medication.  Below are some highlights from the clinical trials:


  • Statistically and clinically significant improvements in depression symptoms
  • Significant improvements in core depression symptoms and anxiety
  • In the open-label trial, 54% of patients responded and 33% remitted


Safety and Tolerability

  • More than 10,000 active treatments were safely performed
  • No systemic side effects, such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction, nausea, or dry mouth
  • No adverse effects on cognition
  • Most common side effects were scalp pain or discomfort
  • Less than 5% of patients discontinued treatment due to side effects


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is now available at the TMS Center of Wilton. We are pleased to be among the first in our area to offer this exciting new treatment. Please visit www.tmscenterofwilton.com for more information regarding TMS therapy.

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Brian Kesselman October 10, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Very interesting. There appears to be support for using TMS in treatment of other disorders like Tourrette Syndrome and AD/HD. Does TMS Center of Wilton offer treatments for non-FDA approved purposes? If so, do they target different areas on the brain or are all treatments targeted to the same portion of the prefontal cotext? In the event that this newer therapy is not covered by insurance, what is the overall cost model? Is it a per visit cost or a cost based on the full regimen? Thank you for introducing us to the topic. Brian
Robert Guerrera, M.D. October 10, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Hello Brian, TMS is only FDA cleared for the treatment of depression at this time. However, it is being used effectively in treating individuals with anxiety disorders such as PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Social Anxiety, as well as, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and addictive disorders. Insurance providers are only paying for the treatment of depression. Also, the cost of the treatment is based on 20-36 treatments.
Margaret Callahan October 10, 2012 at 06:49 PM
How long does the course of 20-36 treatments span? Is it once a week? How fast do people feel better? I"m sure those other disorders can make you feel pretty depressed.
Robert Guerrera, M.D. October 10, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Margaret, TMS is administered according to specified stimulation parameters, 5 days a week for 4-6 weeks (total of 20-30 sessions), followed by a 3 week taper consisting of 3 TMS treatments in 1 week, 2 TMS treatments the next week, and 1 TMS treatment in the last week. We have seen a response to treatment from our patients as early as the 10th treatment.


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