Treatment with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy causes few side effects and is generally well tolerated by patients. This is because TMS activity is restricted to a two centimeter diameter area on the surface of the brain. In contrast to medications, it does not introduce a synthetic molecule into a patient’s blood stream, and thus does not systemically affect cells in other parts of the body which is the cause of most medication side effects. There is also no sedation needed for the procedure as it is an outpatient procedure that the patients are fully awake for, and are able to drive and return to their daily lives after the treatment.
While TMS is a safer and less invasive alternative when compared to other brain stimulation procedures, there are certain risks associated with any type of treatment. It should be noted that most patients who undergo TMS therapy experience no major side effects or discomfort from the treatment.
Common side effects of TMS include:
- Mild Headache
- Scalp discomfort, normally described as a tapping feeling.
- Rarely, seizure (approximate risk is 1/10,000 with no long-term impairment after the seizure resolves)
Less than 5 percent of patients discontinued treatment with TMS Therapy due to side effects. A majority of patients notice that any discomforts felt during treatment typically go away after the first few weeks of treatment.