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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Depression is a serious illness that affects more than 300 million people worldwide. It is a treatable condition, but for some people standard treatments—including drug and talk therapy—don’t work.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a way of treating severe depression when other treatments haven’t worked. Baystate Health offers TMS:
- In Baystate Medical Center's Psychiatric Neurotherapeutics unit in Springfield, MA (413-794-4584)
- At Baystate Wing Hospital's Griswold Behavioral Health Center in Palmer, MA (413-794-4584)
How TMS Works
TMS is a noninvasive procedure, which means that it doesn’t break, cut, or enter the skin. It uses targeted magnetic pulses to gently stimulate the areas of the brain (prefrontal cortex) that are underactive in people with depression.
Though it isn’t completely understood why TMS works, the magnetic stimulation seems to ease depression symptoms and improve mood.
What to expect
With TMS treatments, you will be able to travel by yourself to your treatment appointments. You will not need anesthesia or sedation.
You’ll need to remove any metal hair clips, hearing aids, earrings and glasses before the treatment. Because the machine makes a clicking noise, patients often wear earplugs or listen to music during treatment.
During treatment, you’ll be reclined in a comfortable chair. You will be awake, and you can talk during the treatment. A magnetic coil will gently rest on your head, and you’ll feel a series of taps on your scalp.
A typical treatment lasts about 20 minutes.
A typical course of TMS therapy includes:
- 30 treatments
- Five per week for six weeks (Monday through Friday)
Once you’re done with the 30 treatments, you’ll receive six taper treatments over three weeks.
With more than 3,000 treatments performed at Baystate Health, NeuroStar TMS Therapy has been proven safe and effective. We also have a 73% response rate and a 33% remission rate.
Since TMS only affects the area of the brain involved in mood, patients don’t have side effects like those found with traditional medicines.
Some patients notice scalp pain or discomfort underneath the magnetic coil, which usually goes away within 1-2 weeks.
Eligibility and Insurance Coverage
TMS is covered by Medicare and most major commercial insurances.
Our team will talk with you to figure out if TMS is right for you.
To see if you are a candidate for TMS:
Call Baystate Medical Center at 413-794-4584 or send an email. Call Baystate Wing Hospital at 413-370-8376 or send an email.
Learn more about TMS on the NeuroStar website.