What Is The Difference Between rTMS and dTMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation method that uses electromagnetic currents to stimulate certain areas of the brain. By stimulating various parts of the brain symptoms of mental health disorders like depression are reduced. There are actually two forms of TMS that are currently approved and used in the US- rTMS and dTMS.


Repetitive TMS (rTMS)

rTMS, or repetitive TMS, is the standard TMS treatment. Its name comes from the electromagnetic pulses that are administered in rapid succession during the therapy. These pulses are sent repeatedly during the session to produce longer-lasting changes in brain activity.


Deep TMS (dTMS)

dTMS stands for Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. It’s a newer TMS technique that was only developed in 2007. This form of TMS uses an H-coil that allows larger and deeper parts of the brain to be directly stimulated. The coil creates a magnetic field across the patients brain, which allows multiple areas of the brain to be stimulated at once with the pulses able to penetrate more deeply too.



There are a few key differences between rTMS and dTMS.

  • Time: rTMS sessions last 40 minutes while dTMS only takes 20 minutes per session.
  • Coil: rTMS uses a figure-eight coil while dTMS uses an H-coil.
  • Depth: rTMS can only stimulate the brain up to approximately 1.5 centimeters, but dTMS can stimulate up to 4 centimeters deep



Both forms of TMS have been proven to be highly effective in treating mental disorders, specifically treatment-resistant depression. Your psychiatrists and TMS doctors will discuss and determine whether rTMS or dTMS would be more effective in treating you. If you want to learn more or want to book an appointment feel free to contact us.


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