Initial Consultation

An initial consultation will be scheduled with our team psychiatrist and one of our neurologists to discuss whether TMS is an appropriate treatment for you. At that time, you and your attending doctor will review your symptoms, treatment history, and possible treatment options, as well as ensuring that there are no safety contraindications for TMS. From here, we will work with your other clinicians to develop a course of therapy that is individualized to meet your needs.

Forty-Minute Treatment Sessions

TMS sessions take about forty minutes and are recommended every day for a period of several weeks. You will be awake during treatment and recline in a comfortable chair. A coil resembling a paddle or large spoon will be held in place over your head during the treatment session. As the current passes through the coil, it creates a magnetic field that will induce a current in your brain. After the treatment, you can resume your normal everyday activities.

Side Effects

TMS is not for everyone and there can be side effects. The most common side effects include headaches and ringing in the ears (earplugs are always worn to prevent this). TMS side effects also include a small risk of seizure and convulsion. This is a very rare complication; the reported risk is less than 1 in 1000 for rTMS and even lower in physically healthy patients. Because of the risk of side effects, careful evaluation by capable clinicians is critical and at BIDMC we have the benefit of longstanding experience and expertise.

Treatment Stages

TMS therapy generally consists of two stages: acute treatment and maintenance treatment. Depending on your response, acute treatment usually involves 10 to 20 consecutive treatment sessions over a two- to four-week period. After your initial acute treatment, maintenance treatment sessions may be recommended. Doctors will discuss this with you during your follow-up evaluations and will determine whether you would likely benefit from maintenance.

Cost & coverage

The Neurostar® TMS therapy has been cleared by the FDA for depression. We will work with you to try to obtain reimbursement from your carrier. In addition, financial aid may be available to low-income patients. For more information and a list of our current rates, please contact us at