About This Service
UT Health Austin’s Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) service is used in the treatment of major depressive disorder in adult patients (18 years and older) when antidepressants have failed to provide relief or patients cannot tolerate side effects. TMS serves as an alternative to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), also known as shock therapy. Unlike ECT, TMS is a noninvasive procedure with limited side effects. TMS involves delivering a series of focused magnetic pulses to an area of the brain (left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) known to be underactive in major depression. Our goal is to connect you with an academic mood disorder expert trained in treatment-resistant depression to help improve your overall quality of life.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is FDA-approved for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder.
During TMS treatment, an electromagnetic coil is placed on the scalp over the left prefrontal cortex and an electrical current is passed through the coil, generating a strong magnetic field. This stimulates brain cells (neurons) to fire normally again. This form of stimulation is done without causing a seizure or requiring anesthesia, and patients can safely drive as well as return to normal activities following each treatment.
Intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) protocol is a newer and faster form of TMS that uses pulses applied in a pattern called bursts. Whereas conventional TMS procedures take 20-40 minutes, iTBS sessions only take 3-5 minutes per treatment. This protocol is FDA-approved for use in treating Major Depressive Disorder and has been proven to be similar to traditional TMS in terms of effectiveness, safety, and tolerability.
At UT Health Austin, we take a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines caring for you in one place. The Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation care team includes psychiatrists, dietitians, social workers, and more who work together with your referring provider to ensure your care is delivered seamlessly.
We also collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to provide you with cutting-edge medical treatment options.
At UT Health Austin, we focus on you, the whole patient, making sure that you have the support you need throughout your care. We are committed to clear and timely communication with you, your referring provider, and other healthcare specialists, beginning with your initial visit and continuing throughout your cycle of care. Once we receive a referral from your referring provider, members of the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation care team will identify any existing records of treatment in the UT Health Austin system and communicate with your referring provider to obtain needed medical records and other information. If you have received medical treatment from a provider other than your referring provider, your care team will contact you to receive a written Authorization to Receive Medical Records from your other provider(s). The Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation care team generally will not schedule your initial appointment until it has received all relevant records. Once all records have been received and reviewed, the UT Health Austin Access Center will contact you to schedule your initial appointment.
Your initial appointment will consist of a 60 to 90-minute consultation with the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation care team who will review your medical history and determine your candidacy for undergoing TMS. We typically have patients begin with five treatments per week for 4-6 weeks, for an average of 20-30 treatments. After this initial course of treatment, individual treatment sessions will taper down to three treatments per week for one week, two treatments per week for one week, etc. The amount of time each treatment session takes depends on the variation of TMS used.
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UT Health Austin is housed in the Health Transformation Building (HTB). The HTB is located in downtown Austin, TX on The University of Texas at Austin campus and neighbors the Dell Medical School research and learning buildings as well as the Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas.
This facility is outfitted with the latest state-of-the-art technology and organized to support an unmatched level of multidisciplinary care. Patients have access to all of the resources and amenities UT Health Austin has to offer, including attached garage parking, comfortable waiting areas, an on-site cafe, a full-service H-E-B pharmacy, advanced imaging and lab testing, and an Ambulatory Surgery Center for same-day surgical care.