TMS Therapy

tms-therapy-hewlettTranscranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive treatment for Depression offered at South Shore Nueropsychiatric Center.

TMS uses magnetic stimulation of the brain to help control mood in adults with major Depression.

The procedure was cleared for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2008 in patients who failed to achieve satisfactory improvement from one course of Pharmacotherapy (medication). For this reason, TMS is particularly helpful for people who have not experienced significant relief from antidepressant medications or who have difficulty with antidepressant side effects.

We at South Shore Neuropsychiatric Center have been treating patient with TMS therapy since April 2010.



TMS Machine

During the TMS Therapy procedure, a coil device is placed over the patient’s head to deliver magnetic pulses to the brain. These pulses are thought to cause electrical changes within the neurons of the left prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that regulates mood.

This procedure is completely painless and noninvasive, performed similarly to an MRI scan of the brain. TMS requires no anesthesia or sedation and patients are awake and alert during the procedure. Because no medications are administered, there are no systemic effects or cognitive after-effects (memory loss and ability to concentrate); therefore, patients can return immediately to regular activity.

Each treatment sessions takes about 30 minutes to perform, and patients can resume their regular activities immediately after each session. To achieve effective results, patients will need to undergo multiple visits each week for three to six weeks, depending on their individual condition.

Through a treatment coil, the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system generates highly concentrated, magnetic fields which turn on and off very rapidly. These magnetic fields are the same type and strength as those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.


TMS treatment Long IslandPatients typically receive 20 to 30 treatments over four to six weeks, five times per week; with each treatment lasting approximately 37 minutes. The course of treatment varies 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 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 similar to that found in a dentist’s office. A headset is applied to deliver the magnetic stimulation. Ear plugs are provided to decrease the loud clicks associated with each magnetic pulse and the patient is given the option of watching TV. During the procedure, the patient is monitored continuously to ensure correct positioning and comfort level.

South Shore Neuropsychiatric Center pioneered the technique of engaging the patient in Cognitive/Supportive Psychotherapy during the course of TMS treatments, administered by a trained clinician.


tms-side-effectsMore than 10,000 treatments were safely performed during clinical trials. Patients reported no side effects like those associated with antidepressant medication (weight gain, dry mouth, drowsiness, sexual side effects, etc.), and no cognitive side effects. Scalp discomfort during the procedure is the most common side effect. TMS should not be used for patients with implanted metallic devices that include metal plates in the skull or aneurysm coils, clips or stents. Special precautions are recommended for individuals with implants, such as pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators.


Both private and public insurers are determining eligibility for TMS on an individual basis. However, until TMS is accepted more widely as a medically necessary treatment, insurance coverage will most likely not be authorized. South Shore Neuropsychiatric Center will work closely with patients and insurers to determine coverage.


Please visit our news website for the latest research and media publications on TMS.