What to Expect with NeuroStar TMS Therapy®

Sarkis Family Psychiatry delivers NeuroStar TMS Therapy® treatment sessions as a series of outpatient procedure that last about 50 minutes each.


A NeuroStar TMS Therapy® treatment session is a short outpatient procedure that lasts about 50 minutes. During treatment, you can relax in the treatment chair. You can also speak with the system operator whenever necessary. After the procedure, you can immediately return to your normal routine, including driving.

Your first treatment session:

Because your psychiatrist needs to determine how to most effectively administer TMS treatment, your first session could last up to an hour and a half. You will be provided and asked to wear protective earplugs, as the system emits a tapping sound during operation.

Your psychiatrist will first perform a test to identify your motor threshold. The motor threshold is the amount of magnetic field strength that results in a movement of your right thumb. This test is important because it identifies the magnetic field strength that will be used in your treatment. This field strength is customized for each patient to deliver the correct treatment dose.

After this initial procedure, the doctor will determine the place on the head where the TMS treatment will be applied and the treatment coil will be moved to that location. This will allow you to receive optimal treatment.

The physician will then administer TMS Therapy® over a 50-minute period. In 30-second intervals, the device will deliver rapid “pulses” of the magnetic field. This will feel like tapping on your scalp. Some patients may find this tapping uncomfortable. Your physician may be able to make adjustments to reduce this discomfort.

After the procedure:

Immediately following each treatment session, you may return to your normal daily routine, including driving. During or after treatment you may experience headache or discomfort at the site of stimulation. These are common side effects which often lessen as further treatment sessions are administered. If necessary, you can treat this discomfort with an over-the-counter analgesic. If these side effects persist, your doctor can temporarily reduce the strength of the magnetic field being administered in order to make treatment more comfortable.

In clinical trials, most patients who benefited from NeuroStar TMS Therapy experienced results by the fourth week of treatment. Some patients may experience results in less time, while others may take longer. You should discuss your depression symptoms with your physician throughout the treatment course. If symptoms persist or worsen, you should discuss this with your doctor and consider other antidepressant treatment options.