Explore Therapeutic Brain Stimulation

If you have questions about the EVMS Therapeutic Brain Stimulation program or these procedures, please reach out by phone at 757.446.5888 to discuss in confidence.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

ECT remains the gold standard of treatment for severe, medication-resistant depression. Recent advances in technology make the procedure safer and easier to tolerate. Patients receive a controlled electrical stimulus to the scalp, which causes a brief generalized seizure in the brain. The patient receives the treatment under general anesthesia in a hospital room. Please visit Sentara Healthcare for more information about ECT clinical services.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

EVMS' unique position as Hampton Roads' only academic medical center means patients receive high-quality care guided by the latest research. TMS treatment plans are custom tailored to each patient's needs by EVMS clinicians and researchers trained and certified in the best practices of TMS therapy, and a collaborative team of psychiatrists and psychologists monitors each patient. 

TMS therapy is an excellent option for those who have not had success with traditional psychiatric medications. It is an outpatient procedure that does not keep patients from carrying on with their day-to-day lives. They can drive themselves to appointments, undergo treatment and immediately return to normal activities.

TMS utilizes a highly-focused magnetic field to target specific areas of the brain known to affect anxiety and depression. It does not affect other organs or bodily functions, and research has shown that this pain-free, cutting-edge procedure can be as effective as medication for treating major depression while causing fewer side effects.

TMS involves a series of sessions, typically given five times a week. Each session lasts between 30 minutes and an hour. The treatment team will determine the exact number of sessions based upon your initial evaluations. TMS sessions will be performed in a specially-equipped room.

In many cases, TMS benefits are maintained through medication and through subsequent TMS sessions, e.g., one session per month, bi-monthly sessions or quarterly sessions. These maintenance sessions will be discussed with your physician and will be based on individual needs.