Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

UC San Diego Health System Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Program

UC San Diego Health System offers TMS therapy with the NeuroStar TMS system.

This system is a FDA-cleared treatment for patients suffering from depression who have not achieved satisfactory improvement with antidepressant medication or who did not tolerate antidepressant medications.
  • Using pulsed magnetic fields, transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy stimulates the part of TMS Therapythe brain thought to be involved with mood regulation.
  • TMS Therapy is a short outpatient procedure, performed under the supervision of a UC San Diego Health System psychiatrist while the patient remains awake and alert, sitting in a specially designed chair.
  • The typical initial course of treatment is about 37 minutes daily over 4 to 6 weeks.

The NeuroStar TMS system is the first and only non-systemic and non-invasive depression treatment cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients who have not benefited from prior antidepressant treatment.

Our team offers significant experience utilizing this therapy. UC San Diego Health System is the original provider of NeuroStar TMS in San Diego.

NeuroStar TMS Therapy is:

Non-invasive, meaning that it does not involve surgery, and does not require any anesthesia or sedation. The patient remains awake and alert during the treatment.

  • TMS is non-systemic, meaning it is not a medication taken by mouth and does not circulate throughout the bloodstream

Side effects, which, if they occur, tend to be mild to moderate, may include scalp pain or discomfort during treatment.

Since sedation is not required for treatment, patients can drive themselves to and from appointments, go to work before and after treatment, etc.

The TMS program is led by David Feifel, MD, PhD.

Who is a candidate

TMS therapy is generally used to treat adult patients with moderate to severe depression who have not responded to antidepressant medications or who have not been able to tolderate medication due to side effects. Your physician can work with you to decide whether TMS is appropriate for you.

  • A physician's prescription is required for TMS treatment
  • Treatments are performed by a physician trained in TMS
  • You will be able to participate in normal activities, including driving, before and after each treatment

TMS is approved for use only in adult patients, not children or teenagers.

Learn More

For more information about the UC San Diego TMS Program, to schedule an evaluation for yourself, or for physicians referring patients for TMS, please call 619-543-2827 or email