Your Questions Answered
We understand that not everyone has heard of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). We also appreciate that the unknown can be frightening. Below, our team of patient advisors have pulled together a list of the questions they are asked most often.
If your question doesn’t appear in our FAQs, please contact the team, who will be happy to talk you through the treatment.
What is TMS?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS, is a non-invasive brain stimulation method that uses electromagnetic pulses to stimulate the brain, to treat various mental health disorders.
How does TMS work?
Is TMS safe?
What does TMS treatment feel like?
Some patients find that TMS makes their face twitch. This is nothing to worry about and will stop as soon as your treatment is finished.
Does TMS hurt?
How long is a TMS session?
How long does a course of TMS treatment take?
Will I feel comfortable during the treatment?
What are the side effects of TMS?
Side effects are generally mild and improve shortly after an individual session and decrease over time with additional sessions. They may include:
- Scalp discomfort at the site of stimulation
- Twitching of scalp/face muscles
The risk of seizure about 1 in 50,000 sessions of treatment (which is similar to the risk of seizures from antidepressants). To minimize this risk, patients will be screened for medical contraindications prior to commencing the treatment. If you experience a side-effect during treatment, your Smart TMS practitioner will be on hand and may pause the treatment or reduce the strength of the treatment to make it more comfortable.
How will I feel once the treatment is over?
Most patients feel completely fine and can get on with their day as normal. A small number (one in ten) have a mild headache after treatment, which can be treated with painkillers as normal. Some patients feel tired after their treatment; this is particularly likely if you do multiple sessions in a day.
Will I be left alone during the treatment, or will someone stay with me?
Can TMS treat more than one condition simultaneously?
At Smart TMS, we believe our patients deserve the best value for money, without reducing the levels of personal, caring service. As a result we treat anxiety and depression within the same treatment session. Anxiety and depression tend to see patients entering a vicious cycle of low mood and worry or fear, so our clinicians prescribe TMS treatment for both, if the patient’s symptoms suggest this would be beneficial. We do this at no extra cost to the patient, unlike other TMS providers.
When other conditions are suffered together, our Clinician will use the assessment to determine which is the primary condition. In some cases, patients find treatment for one condition lessens the symptoms of another condition. For example, depression and insomnia may be suffered at the same time and by treating the depressive symptoms, the patient may be able to sleep more soundly, therefore removing the need for insomnia to be treated.
What is the cost of TMS treatment?
Do Smart TMS offer payment plans or finance?
We have partnered with a specialist company who offer finance subject to criteria. Please see finance for more information.
Is TMS offered by the NHS?
Currently, there are very few NHS Foundation Trusts that offer TMS as a treatment for depression – and those that do tend to have long waiting lists. The treatment is only offered free of charge to a select number of patients who meet strict criteria – including living in the catchment area covered by the NHS Trust.
See NHS Funding for more information.
At Smart TMS, we want to help as many people as we can to achieve an improved quality of life through TMS treatment. We can provide guidance to patients on gaining funding from their NHS trust, so please contact the team if you would like advice.
Is TMS covered by private medical insurance?
Many private medical insurance companies are now considering covering the cost of treatment on a case by case basis. If you have private health insurance and you believe it may cover TMS treatment, please get in touch with our team and we can help with booking your treatment and processing your claim. If you are covered by another insurer or unsure as to the position, we recommend calling your insurer in the first instance, to see whether they will cover the cost of your treatment.
Please see Private Health Insurance for the latest information on insurers.
What are rTMS and dTMS?
What is the main difference between rTMS and dTMS?
Are the results of treatment the same for both rTMS and dTMS?
Is the evidence base the same for rTMS and dTMS?
Are the side effects the same for rTMS and dTMS?
What are the results for treating depression?
Following our most recent audit, 65% of patients saw a clinically significant reduction in symptoms, while 46% of patients entered full remission following a full course of treatment.
What results can be expected using TMS for OCD?
Which addictions do Smart TMS treat?
What results can be expected for treating addictions with TMS?
Is TMS like ECT?
The main side effect from ECT is memory loss which does not occur with rTMS. By contrast, rTMS is an outpatient procedure with few side-effects. See TMS vs. ECT for more information
Who should not consider TMS?
What if I’m seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist?
What happens once the course of treatments is over?
Am I suitable for TMS treatment?
How do I book in for treatment?
Before you can start treatment, there are two stages that need to be completed:
- Completion of your pre-assessment questionnaire. This gives us the information we need on your medical history and symptoms before your assessment with one of our clinicians;
- Our clinician will talk through your medical history and symptoms before arriving at a diagnosis and confirming your suitability for TMS treatment. A prescription for TMS will be written.
To arrange to start this process, please contact us on 0345 222 5678 or submit an enquiry and one of our patient advisors will contact you.