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Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)

The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, the Center for Advanced Technology and Education at the FIU College of Engineering and Computing, and the FIU HealthCare Network are pleased to offer the FDA-cleared MagVita TMS Therapy for depression at our FIU Health Miami location.

Brain stimulation therapies play a role in treating certain mental disorders. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) are the best-studied brain stimulation therapies. These treatment methods can be administered alone or in addition to medication and psychotherapy. Choosing the right treatment approach under a doctors care should be based on the medical indication and a person's individual needs.

  • How does rTMS work?

    A typical rTMS session lasts 20 to 40 minutes.  Since this is a non-invasive procedure (no surgery is needed) and does not require anesthesia or sedation, the patient remains awake and alert during the procedure. 

    During the procedure:

    • An electromagnetic coil is positioned over the scalp, near an area of the brain that is thought to be involved in mood regulation.
    • Then, short electromagnetic pulses are administered through the coil. The magnetic pulses easily pass through the skull, and cause small electrical currents that stimulate nerve cells in the targeted brain region.

    The magnetic field is about the same strength as that of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Generally, the person feels a slight knocking or tapping on the head as the pulses are administered.

  • Possible Side Effects
    Sometimes a person may have discomfort at the site on the head where the magnet is placed. The muscles of the scalp, jaw or face may contract or tingle during the procedure. Mild headaches or brief lightheadedness may result. It is also possible that the procedure could cause a seizure, although this is very uncommon. Two large-scale studies on the safety of rTMS found that most side effects, such as headaches or scalp discomfort, were mild or moderate. However, because the treatment is relatively new, there is no knowledge about any long-term side effects.

Consultation

As every patient is unique and experiences different symptoms of depression, it is important  to consult with one of our board-certified psychiatrists to establish the best treatment plan. 

For clinical evaluation, please call FIU Health at 305-348-3627.