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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)


Depression hurts and it’s not a one person illness. It affects everyone -- the people you love, the people with whom you work and it robs you of the simple pleasures of life you once enjoyed. Perhaps you’ve been struggling with depressive episodes for years and nothing seems to help. Maybe you’re experiencing depression for the first time and don’t know where to turn for help.

Traditionally, depression treatment options were limited: talk therapy, medications or electroconvulsive therapy. Now you have a real alternative for you and those you care about: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).

To determine whether TMS is a potential option for you, our program psychiatrist will perform a full evaluation and discuss with you the benefits and potential risks of this therapy.

For more information on TMS treatments call 314-286-1700.


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an exciting new treatment for depression.

  • TMS is a non-invasive brain stimulation therapy that uses briefly pulsed, powerful magnetic fields to induce focused electrical currents in the brain, depolarizing brain cells.1

  • TMS is usually targeted over an area of the brain called the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This area is underactive in patients with depression.2

  • TMS does not require anesthesia, it is administered in an outpatient setting. Patient’s acceptability of TMS is generally good and most patients find the treatment very tolerable.3

  • The most common side effects of TMS include discomfort in the treatment site area and headache.4

  • The use of TMS for depression has been supported by an ample body of research including randomized placebo controlled trials and meta-analyses demonstrating effectiveness of TMS in patients with depression.5-11

In 2008, the FDA approved a specific device for the treatment of major depression in adults who have not responded to one prior medication trial. For patients who do not fit these criteria, or for whom a different device is used, TMS treatment is considered “off label” and therefore not specifically approved by the FDA. The TMS treatment provided by Washington University Physicians is considered off label.