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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy

Dr. Bryan Bruno and Dr. Roberto Estrada are offering treatment for patients with Major Depression with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy. For more information about TMS treatment at Lenox Hill, please contact (212) 434-6645 or visit our website at

How does TMS therapy work?

The non-invasive therapy uses highly focused, pulsed magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the area of the brain responsible for mood regulation. Through a treatment coil, highly concentrated, magnetic fields turn on and off rapidly. These magnetic fields are the same type and strength as those produced by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.

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. 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.

Are there 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 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.

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 who have had ECT. In studies completed to date, TMS therapy was shown to have no negative effects on memory function.

How long does TMS therapy take?

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 treatment lasts approximately 40 minutes.

What is the history of TMS Therapy?

  • First used in 1985, TMS has been used by researchers around the world to help understand the function of different parts of the brain. Several hundred manuscripts have been published regarding its use in stimulating select regions of the brain.
  • Since the mid 1990s, TMS has been studied as an antidepressant therapy.
  • In 2006, the largest randomized, controlled study ever conducted with TMS Therapy was completed. This study was sponsored by Neuronetics and utilized the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system, which is the type used here at Lenox Hill Hospital.
  • In October 2008, the NeuroStar TMS Therapy system was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of adult patients with major depressive disorder who have failed to receive satisfactory improvement from prior medication antidepressant treatment.

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. TMS therapy may be covered on a case-by-case basis. Patients can work with their provider to seek coverage.

About Our Physicians

Dr. Bryan Bruno is Associate Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital and has served as the Director of the Inpatient and Emergency Psychiatry here since 2001. Dr. Roberto Estrada is the Chief of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) in the Department of Psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital. He has previously served as the Assistant Director of Inpatient and Emergency Psychiatry and continues to treat patients hospitalized on the Inpatient Psychiatric Unit.