Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, also known as deep TMS or dTMS, is a refined form of TMS treatment using magnetic pulses to stimulate brain activity, improve mood, and reduce depression. The term “deep TMS therapy” refers to the depth of the magnetic pulses produced, which penetrate into the brain significantly deeper than with traditional TMS technology. Deep TMS is the most effective outpatient treatment for depression and other mental health conditions that have not responded to medication or therapy. Even if you have tried conventional TMS in the past, many people find that dTMS provides depression relief not experienced with other TMS treatments.
As the newer generation of TMS technology, Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy (dTMS) has more benefits and fewer problems than regular TMS machines. Standard TMS uses a figure-8 magnetic coil to produce magnetic pulses. Figure-8 coils produce shallower magnetic pulses than the dTMS H-coil, which means less stimulation to the area of the brain affected by depression. The figure-8 coil also stimulates a smaller region of the brain during treatment, so that the adjacent parts of the brain connected to the mood control center do not receive any stimulation. It also means that the likelihood of the TMS technician missing the targeted part of the brain entirely is much greater. Due to these limitations, regular TMS sessions must last longer, often taking over 45 minutes each time.
Deep TMS technology eliminates the trial-and-error component of TMS therapy. The specially designed H-coil helmets remove any risk of not properly stimulating the target brain area. The design of the H-coils produces a deeper penetrating magnetic pulse that also stimulates a larger portion of the brain, maximizing the effectiveness of the treatments. As a result, therapy sessions using dTMS are shorter in duration, typically only lasting about 20 minutes. Deep TMS has demonstrated higher success rates in both long-term and short-term depression symptom remission than standard transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy.
In short, dTMS is more effective, takes less time than standard TMS, with fewer side effects, and is covered by most insurances for depression treatment. Deep TMS has also been shown to be effective in treating other mental health disorders, aside from treatment-resistant depression. In particular, treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been shown to have remission rates as high, or even greater, than depression when dTMS treatment is employed. Other conditions that can be treated with dTMS include anorexia nervosa, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, and substance abuse.
Starting dTMS therapy is an easy and painless process. The process begins by scheduling a consultation with one of our certified TMS providers here at the Delray Center for Brain Science. Our knowledgeable psychiatric providers will determine if you are an appropriate candidate for TMS or any of our other outpatient depression treatments. Our staff will help walk you through the insurance authorization and scheduling process. Every TMS candidate undergoes an initial brain mapping session with our head psychiatrist, Dr. Raul J. Rodriguez. After the initial brain mapping, we will help you work out a treatment protocol that best fits your schedule.
While dTMS is a helpful tool in the treatment of depression, it can also be used in the treatment of other mental health and physical conditions as well. Some of these include:
While deep TMS is particularly known for helping people living with treatment-resistant depression and can also aid in the treatment for many other issues, both physical and psychological, it’s not best for everyone. Specifically, those who may not qualify for this type of treatment can include people who have:
Before beginning dTMS treatments, it’s best to disclose anything that may let your practitioner understand better about your candidacy for this type of treatment. This is for your safety as a patient and the success of the treatment.