Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an option used to treat patients with depression who do not respond to medications. This technique is a noninvasive option that does not require anesthesia or cause memory loss. It does not work for everyone, but could be the right choice for you.

During this treatment, a magnetic field is produced to induce a small electric current in the brain tissue. When the TMS pulses are delivered at regular intervals it is called repetitive TMS (rTMS). Repetitive TMS can be applied daily to cause long-lasting changes in the brain.

Treating depression

  • Does it work?
    • Numerous large clinical trials have shown an antidepressant effect of rTMS. It has steadily grown in its use since the first FDA-approved TMS device started treating depression in 2008.
  • What are the treatments like?
    • rTMS is an outpatient procedure that the patient stays awake for
    • It does not require any medications or sedation
    • rTMS is administered by a trained technician under the supervision of a doctor
    • The patient can relax and read or talk to the technician during the treatment
  • Will insurance cover this treatment?
    • TMS is covered by most insurance policies
    • Please call your insurance company for more information regarding TMS coverage
  • Are there side effects?
    • Generally, the TMS sessions are well tolerated
    • Should you choose this option, you will feel a tingling or tapping sensation on their head from the TMS
    • Occasionally patients will experience a headache that typically resolves when the treatment is over
    • More serious side effects are rare and can be discussed during your evaluation

Presurgical mapping

TMS is also used to identify regions of the brain used for movement and speech in patients being evaluated for neurosurgery. Ask your physician if this is an option that you should consider.

How to get started

Prospective patients should receive a referral from their doctor. For more information call Chris Sanborn at 1-319-384-9162.

Care Team

  • Chris Sanborn, Behavioral Health Coordinator and Technician
  • Janet Pittman-Foell, RN, Neuromodulation Coordinator