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Board certified neurologist Dr. Ali Elahi discusses the benefits of repetitive TMS over ECT.

Some misconceptions that need to be clarified are, a lot of patients may hear the words ‘transcranial magnetic stimulation’ and immediately think shock therapy. We know that this is absolutely not the same. Electroconvulsive therapy or ECT is an old method of treating intractable depression, where patients are actually anesthetized. The patient is placed into a seizure after which they may experience short-term memory loss.

TMS is a completely opposite type of procedure where in fact the patients are awake, alert, conscious. There’s no anesthesia, there are no invasive procedures, there’s no lines or cannulas, there’s no seizure being induced and we can achieve the same outcomes that ECT has proven to be helpful in the past without any of those invasive side effects. So it’s definitely not the same. It’s non-invasive, there’s no shocking in terms of causing a seizure or inducing a seizure and there’s no anesthesia involved, there’s no short-term memory loss.