Do you have questions about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy, a new treatment for people suffering from depression? Here are some responses to frequently asked questions about TMS therapy. Contact us if you have additional questions, or if you'd like to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.
How does TMS therapy work?

The non-invasive therapy uses highly focused, pulsed magetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the area of the brain responsible for mood regulation. Through a treatment coil, the NeuroStar TMS Therapy© system generates highly concentrated, magnetic fields which turn on and off rapidly. These magnetic fields are the same type and strength as those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. Read more about TMS therapy and how it works.

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Am I a good candidate for TMS therapy?

You may be a good candidate for TMS therapy if you suffer from depression, but are not benefiting from antidepressants, or wish to seek an alternative to antidepressants. This treatment is clinically proven to treat the symptoms of depression for patients who have not responded to previous antidepressant treatment.

Not all patients are appropriate candidates for NeuroStar TMS Therapy. Contact us to determine if TMS therapy is right for you.

TMS Therapy should not be used in patients with implanted metallic devices or non-removable metallic objects in or around the head. It also should not be used in patients with implanted devices that are controlled by physiological signals such as pacemakers.

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Are their side effects to TMS therapy?

The most common side effect is brief and mild to moderate scalp discomfort or pain at the treatment area during active treatments. The incidence of this side effect will likely decline after the first week of treatment. Fewer than 5% of patients during clinical trails discontinued the study due to any negative side effect.

More than 10,000 active treatments were safely performed with NeuroStar TMS Therapy during the clinical trials. No side effects such as weight gain, sexual problems, stomach problems, sleepiness, or dry mouth were seen during trials. There were no negative effects on memory or ability to concentrate.

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Is TMS therapy like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)?

The two procedures are very different. However, TMS therapy could be a good alternative to treating depression for those who have undergone ECT.

ECT intentionally causes a seizure; TMS therapy does not. Patients receiving ECT must be sedated with general anesthesia and paralyzed with muscle relaxants; patients undergoing TMS therapy do not.

In contrast, during the TMS therapy procedure, the patient sits in a chair and is awake and alert throughout the entire procedure. No sedation is used with TMS Therapy.

Recovery from an ECT treatment session occurs slowly, and patients are usually closely monitored for minutes or a few hours after a treatment. Short-term confusion and memory loss are common, and long-term disruptions in memory have been shown to occur and may persist indefinitely in some people. In studies completed to date, TMS therapy was shown to have no negative effects on memory function.

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How long is TMS therapy?

Treatment involves a series of short outpatient visits to our office, where you will be under the supervision of one of our psychiatrists. A typical course of treatment consists of five treatments per week over four to six weeks. Each treament lasts approximately 40 minutes.

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What are the benefits to TMS therapy?

TMS therapy is a non-invasive alternative to depression without the side effects, such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction, nausea, sedation, and dry mouth, which can be associated with antidepressant treatment. In clinical trials, one in two patients had significant improvement in symptoms and one in three had complete symptom resolution.

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Does TMS therapy hurt?

TMS therapy uses the same type and strength of magnetic fields as MRIs, which have not been shown to have side effects. The amount of magnetic field exposure for a full course of TMS therapy is a small fraction of just one brain scan with an MRI.

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How effective is TMS therapy compared with drugs?

NeuroStar TMS therapy was not compared in head-to-head studies with antidepressant medications. It is difficult to compare NeuroStar vs. drugs, because they have been studied in different patient populations. The patients for which NeuroStar has been FDA-cleared had failed multiple treatment attempts, one of which achieved an adequate dose and duration. Almost all antidepressant medications have been studied and approved for 1st-line treatment. In the NeuroStar randomized controlled trial, almost 3x the number of NeuroStar-treated patients had a significant improvement in symptoms compared to placebo.

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Is TMS therapy covered by insurance and/or Medicare?

Your initial consultation with one of our doctors may be covered by your insurance and/or Medicare. NeuroStar TMS therapy may be covered on a case-by-case basis. Patients can work with their provider and the NeuroStar Care Connection (NCC) program to seek coverage.

We have had a number of patients whose insurance companies have reimbursed them for TMS therapy. Contact us for more information.

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Learn More About TMS

about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy

TMS therapy is a precisely targeted treatment. The treatment goal is to stimulate (or activate) brain cells non-invasively without anaethesia or sedation. Patients remain awake and alert throughout the TMS therapy session, able to resume normal life activities immediately following treatment.

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Meet Our Doctors

Dr. Gregory Alsip and Dr. Philip Saltiel
Dr. Gregory Alsip and Dr. Philip Saltiel

Our doctors are board-certified psychiatrists with more than 35 years of combined experience treating depression and other mental health issues.

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Our Location

Manhattan Center TMS is located at 150 East 58th 
Street, New York, NY 10155

Our office is located at
150 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10155.

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