Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (deep TMS) therapy is a newer technique that was constructed by Brainsway in 2007. Treatment works by exciting or inhibiting activity in the brain, which acts to restore neural balance and alleviate negative effects. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation is a similar, older treatment option, which works in the same way as deep TMS. During both of these procedures, electromagnetic pulses are administered to targeted brain structures, thereby manipulating cellular activity levels. While both methods are used to accomplish the same goal, there are notable differences between the two. This article will explore the ways in which the equipment, procedure, and efficacy of deep TMS and rTMS vary.
Difference Between DTMS and RTMS
Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation is a brain therapy that has been approved for use by the Food & Drug Administration. Specifically, deep TMS has been deemed a useful tool for combating symptoms of major depression. This method is typically used for those who have not gained relief through other means (called treatment-resistant depression). The treatment requires the use of a device called an H-coil, which creates a magnetic field across the receiver’s brain. This allows multiple target areas to be stimulated at once, with electromagnetic pulses penetrating up to four centimeters deep, says Advanced Mental Health Care Inc.
This depth allows for manipulation of brain structures connected to reward pathways, which is not as attainable through other non-invasive brain therapies. The average length of a deep TMS session is 20 minutes, and treatment must be repeated every day for anywhere from four to six weeks. The procedure causes no pain, but it is not uncommon for headaches to occur during deep TMS. As it does not require any surgery or anesthesia, there is no recovery time after treatment.
Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) is the predecessor to deep TMS. It uses the same principles of stimulation via magnetic field as deep TMS, though the coil used is different. It is known as a figure-eight coil, and creates a more localized magnetic field within the brain. It is referred to as “repetitive” because more than one pulse is administered to the brain during a session. Unlike deep TMS, rTMS technology is only able to penetrate the brain to depths of approximately 1.5 centimeters, says Advanced Mental Health Care Inc. It takes 40 minutes to complete one session of rTMS, with the same duration required to complete an entire course as deep TMS. Much like deep TMS, rTMS is a painless, outpatient procedure that is well-tolerated by the majority.
In a study conducted to test the usefulness of deep TMS as a therapy for treatment resistant major depression, 15 clinically diagnosed individuals were given five daily sessions of deep TMS for four weeks. Of these people, 41.2% were in a state of remission one week after the conclusion of the study, remarks Brainsway. In comparison, of 419 clinically depressed treatment-resistant people who underwent a course of rTMS, 33.4% achieved remission afterwards, concludes a study published in Clinical EEG and Neuroscience. In both instances, treatment was delivered at a high frequency.
Both deep TMS and rTMS are brain stimulation therapies that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a management tactic for treatment-resistant depression. They have also been tested for other medical purposes (i.e. smoking cessation), with research still underway. The two treatments use different versions of the same technology, which helps to stimulate the brain via magnetic fields. The pulses produced by the deep TMS H-coil are able to penetrate deeper within the brain than those of rTMS, which allows for more stimulation of important structures. Both are somewhat effective at treating depression, with deep TMS yielding moderately better results.
Westside Neurotherapeutics offers dTMS treatments Los Angeles for depression and smoking cessation. For more information, contact them by phone at 310.946.0008 or visit us online at www.westsideneurotherapeutics.com.