Our TMS Services
Outpatient transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy for adults with depression
At Sheppard Pratt, we provide outpatient transcranial magnetic stimulation for adults with major depressive disorder (recurrent, severe, or single episode – severe).
Outpatient TMS means that patients do not have to be in the hospital to receive TMS therapy – TMS does not require anesthesia or any other form of sedation, and there is no recovery time after the procedure ends. Side effects of TMS are very minimal.
How Do I Access TMS at Sheppard Pratt?
To receive TMS at Sheppard Pratt, you will need:
- A diagnosis of major depressive disorder – recurrent, severe, or single episode – severe
- A referral from a treating physician
After you are referred to our program by your physician, you will need to complete a patient questionnaire. When we have received this, our trained staff will be able to verify your insurance benefits and contact you for a preliminary screening to make sure that TMS is the right treatment option for you. If so, you will be contacted and scheduled for a comprehensive evaluation with one of our expert TMS psychiatrists.
What Should I Expect from TMS Therapy at Sheppard Pratt?
Once we have determined that TMS is the right fit for your needs, we’ll assess what strength of TMS works for you – strength can vary based on your brain and any medications you may be on. This initial assessment, called a Motor Threshold Determination, will be performed by one of our physicians who is trained in TMS.
After your motor threshold is established, you will begin your first TMS treatment. TMS therapy generally consists of 20 - 30 treatments. TMS treatments are administered 5 days per week, Monday – Friday, for about 4 - 6 weeks. Exact duration will vary, but each appointment usually lasts approximately 45 minutes.
There is no anesthesia or recovery time, so you can resume daily activities once your session ends.
Who Administers My TMS Therapy?
At Sheppard Pratt, your initial treatment parameters will be determined and started by a TMS-certified and specially trained physician. Successive daily treatments will be administered by a specially trained and credentialed TMS clinical technician. Our TMS clinical technicians are supervised by both a registered nurse and highly trained physicians, who both have extensive training and experience in the fields of TMS and neurostimulation.
What Does TMS Feel Like?
The TMS treatment coil delivers series of rapid pulses which may feel like a tapping on the scalp. Some people describe the sensation as not bothersome, while others may describe it as feeling like a woodpecker pecking on their scalp. Your physician may suggest a mild, over-the-counter pain medicine like Motrin or Tylenol to take before each treatment. For most people, the tapping sensation significantly lessens after approximately one week of treatment.
What Else Should I Know About TMS Therapy?
- We require that patients wear ear plugs or noise-reducing, non-metallic earbuds while undergoing TMS treatment. Disposable earplugs will be provided.
- Many patients chose to watch videos on their phone or browse the internet while undergoing TMS treatment.
- You will need to remain awake during treatment but can rest with your eyes closed.
- Our staff will do everything possible to make your TMS treatments comfortable.
How is My Progress Evaluated?
In addition to daily check-ins about your symptoms of depression with a TMS technician, our licensed clinicians (physicians and RNs) regularly use expert assessment skills and standardized depression rating scales to evaluate your progress. Patients are required to complete simple rating scales on a weekly or as-needed basis so their symptoms can be documented and evaluated as well.
Usually, improvement is not noticed in the first couple weeks of treatment. It often takes 4 weeks of daily treatment for TMS to take effect. At this point, your TMS physician will conduct a formal evaluation of your response to TMS therapy. The physician will conduct another formal evaluation after 6 weeks of TMS therapy as well. At this time, your physician will make recommendations regarding a period of tapering off TMS (for example: 1 - 2 times a week for 3 - 4 weeks) or possible maintenance TMS therapy (once every other week).