What happens during rTMS?
Treatment is provided in a specially equipped room.
You are awake and sit in a comfortable chair. You’ll be asked to put on some hearing protection (like a pair of ear-muffs) because the rTMS device makes loud clicking noises.
The device is placed on your forehead. As the treatment begins, you may hear a clicking sound. As the magnetic field stimulates the nerves and muscles, you may also feel a tapping sensation on your scalp.
A nurse will stay in the room with you during treatment.
Afterwards, you will be able to get up and carry on with your day as usual.
A course of treatment usually involves daily sessions of around 30-40 minutes, over a period of 4 to 6 weeks. Your psychiatrist will decide how long your treatment should be.
How does rTMS work?
The magnet used in rTMS stimulates nerve cells (neurons) in the brain.
Repeatedly stimulating the nerve cells helps the frontal areas of the brain (responsible for thinking and impulse control) to regulate the deeper, emotional areas of the brain. This has an anti-depressant effect.
What are the side effects?
The most common side effects of rTMS are:
- scalp discomfort
- muscle twitches.
Many patients report that side effects disappear after treatment, and get less noticeable over time.
There is a small chance that rTMS could cause a seizure. This is extremely rare but it means that rTMS should only be performed under the supervision of a psychiatrist.