Is deep TMS different from TMS?

The simple answer is, “yes.” However, searching for information on our treatment can be confusing – you will likely find information on TMS, rTMS, or deep TMS. You might see adjectives like “superficial,” “shallow” or “repetitive.” The following seeks to clarify the differences between various Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) treatments. 

There are two main types of TMS treatment – both fall under the rTMS, or repetitive TMS category – the first is simply called TMS, while the second is deep TMS. While both can, and are, used for Major Depressive Disorder treatment, research literature indicates a few crucial differences between the two.

For additional information about Prime TMS or TMS and deep TMS treatments, visit our FAQ or Resources pages.

Why deep TMS is better

Standard TMS

• Often described as being “superficial” or “shallow”
• Uses a figure-8 shaped coil
• Reaches about 1.1 cm beneath the brain’s surface
• Stimulates around 3 cm3 of brain volume
• Misses the targeted area 65% of the time
• Between 7.1–9% remission rate

Deep TMS

• Called “deep” due to farther reaching treatment
• Uses an H-coil patented by BrainsWay
• Reaches up to 2.8 cm beneath the brain’s surface
• Stimulates about 17 cm3 of brain volume
• Guaranteed to hit the targeted area of the brain
• Remission rate of 32.6%

In a randomized clinical trial testing an H1-Coil (deep TMS) against a figure-8-coil (standard TMS), the study found a significant advantage to deep TMS over standard TMS treatments in treating moderate to sever depression. To view a summary of the clinical trial design and results, click below. A link to the full report is available on our Resources page.

In order for TMS to stimulate the same amount of your brain as deep TMS would stimulate, treatment intensity would have to be increased to a dangerous amount.

Should you get deep TMS treatment?

Prime TMS has one mission – to provide better depression treatment. Insurance plans have general TMS policies that vary by insurance company. They do not distinguish between TMS and deep TMS, and the treatment regimens are the same. This means that either treatment (TMS or deep TMS) will cost the same amount through insurance. If you are considering trying TMS and there’s no difference in treatment plan or how much it will cost, wouldn’t you want the best?