The Most Advanced Treatments for Depression:  Surface TMS vs. Deep TMS

What is the Difference between Surface TMS and Deep TMS?

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (or TMS)  is an amazing breakthrough treatment for people suffering from depressions.

When it comes to treating depression with TMS, patients have two choices : Deep TMS (such as Brainsway Deep TMS used in New Brain Institute Centers) and surface TMS (such as the Neuronetics’ NeuroStar TMS) devices. What is the difference between Deep TMS and surface TMS? Which one is best for you? To help you decide, we’ll compare Neurostar TMS and  New Brain Institute’s Deep TMS devices.

FDA Approval

The NeuroStar TMS device designed by Neuronetics was granted FDA approval in 2008 for treatment of depressed patients who had NOT achieved positive outcomes after at least one antidepressant agent.

New Brain Institute’s Deep TMS is manufactured by Brainsway. It has caused a revolution in the medical world, winning FDA’s approval in 2013 as a well-tolerated and efficacious treatment option for major depression and altering the way many neurological and psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and Parkinson’s disease are approached nowadays.

Our verdict: Both are FDA Approved. However, we have to give a small advantage to New Brain Institute’s Brainsway because it has been studied for more conditions as of this day.

The Coil

NeuroStar TMS system employs a figure 8-shaped coil, placed over the scalp surface, and generates magnetic field, capable of inducing electric current within the neural networks of the brain. Such induced electric activity is known to stimulate specific functional areas responsible for mood and behavior. However, magnetic impulses from NeuroStar TMS do not descend deeper than 0.6 inch under the scull, and, therefore, have more superficial or “focal” impact.

In contrast, New Brain Institute Brainsway’s Deep TMS device has an H-shaped coil, which produces magnetic waves reaching the deep brain structures at up to 1.6 inch  below the skull surface and allows greater impulse distribution. That is almost three times deeper.

The winner: Studies have proven stronger interconnection of deep-lying brain structures with the reward system pathways, thus, implying a more pronounced effect in patients using deep brain TMS like the ones from New Brain Institute. Therefore, the clear winner is New Brain Institute’s Brainsway H-shaped coil.

The Treatment

Usually, NeuroStar Surface TMS sessions last 37 minutes. The total treatment course time ranges between 740 and 1100 minutes.  

By comparison, New Brain Institute’s Brainsway Deep TMS sessions typically do not exceed 20 minutes, while the entire course takes approximately 400 to 600 minutes.

The winner: Quite obvious – New Brain Institute’s Brainsway Deep TMS, as it needs almost 50% less time or is twice as fast to produce results.

The Outcomes

NeuroStar Surface TMS patients are four times more likely to benefit from treatment compared to patients receiving placebo.  After four weeks of procedures, 9% of patients achieve remission with NeuroStar.  

In contrast, effective in even the most severe cases of depression, New Brain Institute’s Brainsway Deep TMS has been shown to induce remission in as much as 32% of patients after four weeks of treatment.   

What’s more, a growing swath of literature is indicative of the fact that the concurrent use of antidepressant pharmacotherapy with TMS may produce even greater results – 58% remission rate and 79% response rate.

The winner: Again, New Brain Institute’s Brainsway Deep TMS device, clearly edges Neuronetics’ NeuroStar TMS as far as the magnitude of therapeutic impact is concerned.

The  Verdict

Dozens of clinical trials have proven the unique efficacy of TMS in the  treatment of major medication-resistant depressions. There is no question about it. TMS is associated with fewer side-effects than the conventional treatment methods. 

Surface TMS and Deep TMS systems share a similar mechanism of action, but are clearly distinct in a number of ways at the same time. New Brain Institute Brainsway Deep TMS is twice as fast to achieve remission, has a wider range of application, and relies on a more advanced technique to stimulate the deep regions of the brain. On top of that, Deep TMS as used by New Brain Institute brings relief to a 3 to 4 times greater number of patients than Surface TMS. For all these reasons, it is safe to say that New Brain Institute’s Brainsway Deep TMS has a significant advantage over NeuroStar Surface TMS as a treatment of choice for medication-resistant depression or for people looking for remission from depression without medication.  

To find out how New Brain Institute’s Deep TMS can help you, please contact your local New Brain Institute Center. 

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    FDA Cleared Treatment for Depression

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