rTMS May Be Your Answer To Treatment-Resistant Depression

What is rTMS?

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is a painless, noninvasive treatment for depression in which coils are placed above the patient’s head to administer repetitive electromagnetic pulses to specific areas of the brain. The rTMS procedure is used to create changes in the centers of the brain that control mood regulation and depression, leading to the alleviation of depression symptoms in those who undergo it.

We offer rTMS at our practice in the Midtown neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. See where we’re located and learn more about getting to our NYC office.

whats is rtms Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

How does rTMS therapy differ from TMS?

In a clinical setting, there’s no difference. All TMS therapy programs that are available to patients for the treatment of depression are technically rTMS, even though physicians typically drop the “r” and refer to them as “TMS.”

Even though the names differ, the treatment program and benefits for patients are exactly the same.


How do you know whether repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is right for you?

rTMS is recommended primarily for the alleviation of symptoms related to treatment-resistant depression, though many patients may choose rTMS for a variety of reasons not related to their unresponsiveness to treatment, including avoiding the potential effects of antidepressant medication. rTMS is also completely safe during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

If you or a loved one have tried several therapies to overcome your depression symptoms with little to show for it, rTMS depression treatment may be right for you. Take our quiz to find out.


Is rTMS effective for treating depression?

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation was approved for the treatment of depression in 2008 and over 30 clinical trials have now shown rTMS to be effective for this use. For more information about the success of rTMS therapy, click here.

Are there any rTMS treatment side effects?

In rare cases, patients have reported rTMS treatment side effects that include difficulty sleeping, eye pain, headaches, facial pain/toothache, and muscle twitches. Even more infrequently–in approximately 0.1% of cases–patients were observed to experience a seizure following the procedure.

rTMS depression treatment is a non-invasive procedure that requires no anesthesia, and is considered to be very low-risk by physicians. It is safe to be performed in an outpatient setting, with the majority of patients reporting only minor discomfort and returning to regular activities immediately following the procedure.

The side effects of rTMS therapy are typically far less than those of many antidepressant medications, making it a great alternative.

Learn More About rTMS Therapy and How it Works

If you are interested in learning more about rTMS and how it works, check out our step-by-step guide to treatment or contact us for more information.


Who is a candidate for rTMS?

Depression sufferers for whom medication has failed to provide relief, or who have experienced unpleasant side effects with medication, are excellent candidates for TMS. TMS is also a good option for women whose antidepressant medication cannot be taken safely during pregnancy. Individuals with a metal implant in the head, or with a history of seizures or a seizure disorder, are not candidates for TMS. Learn more about who is a candidate for TMS, or take our quiz.


How long does a treatment session last?

Each session lasts 19 minutes.


How does rTMS work?

During treatment, a coil is placed over the head that sends magnetic currents through the scalp and skull to activate neurons in the dorsolateral prefontal cortex. This creates changes in the areas of the brain that control mood regulation, which can help relieve symptoms of depression.


How many times per month will I attend treatment sessions?

You’ll attend sessions for 9 consecutive weeks, on the following schedule:

  • First 6 weeks: 5 sessions per week (Monday-Friday).
  • 7th week: 3 sessions per week.
  • 8th week: 2 sessions per week.
  • 9th week: 1 session.

What are the benefits of TMS?

TMS has been clinically proven in over 30 studies to relieve symptoms of depression, and the majority of patients experience relief within several weeks. TMS is almost free of side effects (some patients might experience a mild headache during the first week), whereas individuals taking medication may experience side effects like nausea, weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, and sexual side effects. TMS has many benefits for patients who have not seen results with antidepressants, or who are unhappy with the side effects they’ve experienced with medication.