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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Dr. David Feifel describes transcranial magnetic stimulation on 10 News.

Appointments and Referrals

Fax: 619-543-3837


UC San Diego Health System - Hillcrest
350 Dickinson Street, Suite 221
San Diego, CA 92103

UC San Diego Health System - La Jolla
8950 Villa La Jolla Drive, Suite C207
La Jolla, CA 92037

The Only Program in San Diego Providing Both Neurostar TMS and Brainsway Deep TMS

UC San Diego Health System offers noninvasive repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for the treatment of psychiatric and neuropsychiatric conditions for which medications do not provide satisfactory relief.

TMS is a non-invasive treatment that stimulates neurons in the brain with a pulsing electromagnet. The treatment is used to return normal activity to particular areas in the brain associated with psychiatric conditions.

Why UC San Diego for TMS?

UC San Diego is the only place in San Diego where people can receive TMS therapy in the context of an academic medical setting. Our psychiatry faculty members are at the forefront of innovations in noninvasive brain stimulation. Led by David Feifel, MD, PhD,  our TMS program was the first in San Diego to provide TMS, and we recently enhanced our clinical capabilities to offer deep transcranial magnetic stimulation with the Brainsway system.

At UC San Diego, transcranial magnetic stimulation is a component of a comprehensive program for treating psychiatric and neuropsychiatric disorders. Our approach starts with a thorough review of each client’s history, current symptoms and past treatments followed by a discussion of standard and innovative treatment options that may benefit them.

TMS Therapy at UC San Diego: What to Expect

Eligible patients are evaluated by Dr. Feifel to determine whether TMS therapy is an appropriate treatment option. The treatment involves 20-40 minute outpatient sessions over a course of 4-6 weeks. Treatment plans are individualized for each patient’s unique situation and may include changes to prescribed medications, and other therapies.

Dr. David Feifel adjusts a device.

Dr. Feifel adjusts the Brainsway TMS device in preparation for a patient to receive TMS therapy.

TMS treatment is:

  • Cleared by the FDA for the treatment of major depression, and there is growing support for for numerous other conditions.
  • Safe - TMS is well tolerated, has few side effects, and no long-term side effects.
  • Non-invasive, meaning that it does not involve surgery.
  • Does not require any anesthesia or sedation, as the patient remains awake and alert during the treatment.
  • Non-systemic, meaning that it is not taken by mouth or injection and does not circulate in the bloodstream throughout the body.
UC San Diego offers two types of TMS therapy allowing us to match each patient with the treatment regimen that best suits their needs. TMS PET Brain Scan

Neurostar TMS – This device was the first to be cleared by the FDA for the treatment of major depression. The magnetic pulse of the NeuroStar TMS system is able to directly stimulate the brain up to a depth of approximately 1.5 cm below the surface. A Neurostar treatment session typically lasts 35-40 minutes.

Brainsway Deep TMS – This device was cleared by the FDA for the treatment of depression in 2013. The magnetic pulse of the Brainsway TMS system is able to directly stimulate deeper into the brain (up to 8 cm) than the Neurostar System. Deep TMS treatment sessions are typically 20 minutes.

Insurance Coverage for TMS

Several health insurance plans now offer coverage for TMS for depression, including:

  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Blue Shield
  • Health Net
For more information about paying for TMS and insurance, please contact us at or 619-543-2827. See insurance accepted.