Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy

Clinical Director: Scott Aaronson, M.D.

Referral Information: 410-938-3737

Sheppard Pratt Health System is proud to be one of the first sites in the country offering Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy to treat depression. NeuroStar TMS Therapy® was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients suffering from depression who have not achieved satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medication. Our Health System was one of twenty research sites selected to participate in clinical trial on TMS.

While part of The Retreat, TMS Therapy is located at our Department of Medicine and can be administered to residents of The Retreat, or on an outpatient basis.

The Procedure

During NeuroStar TMS Therapy®, magnetic field pulses are generated and aimed at an area of the brain that has been demonstrated to function abnormally in patients with depression and mood regulation. This magnetic field is the same type and strength as those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.

The pulses of magnetic fields move into the brain and produce small electrical currents. These electrical currents physiologically activate brain cells. The amount of electricity created is very small and cannot be felt by the patient, but the electric charges cause the neurons to become active and are thought to lead to the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinepherine, and dopamine.

The standard treatment is a 40-minute outpatient procedure that is performed under the supervision of a psychiatrist. It does not require anesthesia or sedation, and patients remain awake and alert during the procedure.

The number of treatments recommended is based on the individual patient's need and response to the treatment. For most patients, treatment is administered daily for four to six weeks, the equivalent of 20-30 treatments.

Common Side Effects

In clinical trials, approximately 50 percent of patients treated with NeuroStar TMS Therapy® experienced significant improvement in depression symptoms without experiencing side effects, such as weight gain, sexual problems, nausea, insomnia, sleepiness, dry mouth, or memory impairments. The most commonly reported side effect related to treatment was scalp pain or discomfort during the treatment session. This side effect was generally mild to moderate, and occurred less frequently after the first week of treatment.

To learn more about accessing this service please call us at 410-938-3737.

To learn more about NeuroStar TMS Therapy®, please visit the official Neuronetics website.