Standard TMS treatment, often called rTMS, was approved for treating major depression in 2008. While this form of TMS was effective for patients with depression, updated technology allowed for the development of Deep TMS, which was FDA-approved for depression in 2013. So, what is the difference between traditional vs. Deep TMS? Learn the answer, as well as information regarding which option is best for you, below.
Comparison of Standard vs. Deep TMS
Both standard and deep TMS deliver magnetic pulses to areas of the brain linked to mental health. The difference with Deep vs. standard TMS is that Deep TMS covers a wider brain area than traditional TMS and can stimulate deeper brain regions. Standard TMS delivers magnetic pulses to very specific areas of the brain, whereas Deep TMS covers a broader region.
While standard TMS has been found to be effective, problems can arise if the specific brain region targeted in TMS does not respond to treatment. Deep TMS offers a solution by targeting a wider area of the brain. Sometimes, it is difficult to identify the exact region in the brain that needs to be stimulated to alleviate mental health systems. By stimulating a wider region of the brain than standard TMS, the Deep TMS procedure can improve outcomes for patients with depression.
Deep TMS achieves broader brain stimulation by utilizing a different type of electromagnetic coil when compared to traditional rTMS methods.
What Does The Research Say?
BrainsWay, the makers of the Deep TMS device, have claimed that their product is superior to traditional TMS devices, because of the ability of the Deep TMS device to provide broader, deeper brain stimulation due to the use of a unique coil design. Fortunately, research has supported BrainsWay’s claims.
A 2019 report in BMC Psychiatry reviewed 19 different studies and found that Deep TMS devices reduced depression severity more so than standard TMS devices did. The superiority of Deep TMS for reducing depression symptom severity was found to be attributed to the less focal and more intense stimulation with Deep TMS, compared to the more focal, less intense stimulation with standard TMS.
While Deep TMS was found to be more effective than standard TMS for reducing the severity of depression symptoms, it is worth noting that both forms of TMS were found to be effective. Deep TMS does provide broader, deeper brain stimulation when compared to standard TMS procedures, but standard TMS can still be beneficial for some patients.
Much of the research with Deep TMS devices has evaluated their effectiveness for treating depression, but it is also important to remember that Deep TMS was FDA-approved for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in 2018. Based upon this fact, scientists have also evaluated the effectiveness of deep TMS for OCD, and findings have been promising. A study that included 219 patients with OCD found that the majority of them benefited from Deep TMS treatment.
Is Deep TMS Safe?
Numerous studies have shown that Deep TMS is effective, but when beginning any new treatment, patients want reassurance that it will be safe. Deep TMS procedures may sound intimidating, especially given the fact that they deliver electromagnetic stimulation to wide regions of the brain, but the procedure is actually safe and noninvasive.
A research report that reviewed the results of 15 different studies found that side effects associated with Deep TMS were mild. Some adverse side effects associated with the procedure were as follows:
- Scalp pain
Studies did not reveal any significant adverse events, like seizures, with Deep TMS treatment. Based upon available evidence, Deep TMS is safe, effective, and well-tolerated, and it can provide relief for those who do not experience significant improvement with medication and/or counseling.
Which Option is Best for Me?
Each patient is different, and the best TMS treatment for you will depend upon your unique needs, based upon your mental health history and response to other treatment options. Deep TMS may be more effective than traditional rTMS procedures, because Deep TMs provides broader brain stimulation, but rTMS is also effective.
If you’re searching for treatment for depression, and traditional methods like medication or counseling have not worked, Deep TMS is a suitable option. One recent study found that nearly one-third of patients experienced remission of depression symptoms when treated with Deep TMS, and this treatment modality was found to be significantly more effective than a placebo was for treating depression.
Patients in the study had not responded to antidepressant medications, but they did experience a reduction in depression symptoms with Deep TMS. FIndings like this suggest that Deep TMS is effective for its intended purpose of alleviating symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. TMS is also approved as an add-on treatment for patients taking medications or undergoing counseling for OCD.
Ultimately, a physician can determine the best TMS treatment modality for your needs. A thorough evaluation, which includes an assessment of your mental health history, treatment history, and current symptoms, will allow your physician to make the best decisions about your treatment. For many patients who do not receive adequate relief with medications or counseling, adding Deep TMS to their treatment regimen can make a significant difference.
Treatment at Pulse TMS
Pulse TMS leads the West Los Angeles and Santa Barbara area in the treatment of chronic depression and OCD through the use of the Deep TMS method. Our treatment is non-invasive and delivered in convenient 20-minute sessions. Contact us today to determine if you are a candidate for Deep TMS services.