A common question from patients is: What is BrainsWay Deep TMS™?
Let’s start with what it is not:
It is not surgery.
It is not electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or shock therapy.
It is not medication.
So, what is it? Deep TMS stands for Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (Deep TMS™). This noninvasive treatment uses magnetic coils to activate targeted brain structures that can address a range of mental health conditions. Deep TMS is FDA-cleared to treat depression, anxious depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and smoking addiction.
Deep TMS is delivered to patients by a Deep TMS device, sometimes called a Deep TMS machine. There are several key components of a Deep TMS device:
The most important component is the unique magnetic coil, which is embedded in a specially designed cushioned and cooled helmet. The patented H-Coil design enables deeper and broader stimulation than traditional TMS coils, which are rigid and shaped like a figure-8. Those figure-8 coils must be held in place on a patient’s head by technicians, requiring the patient to sit still throughout the treatment. In contrast, BrainsWay’s Deep TMS H-Coils inside the helmet are flexible. Every patient’s head is shaped differently, so this ensures a custom fit for each person.
When the device is activated, it sends magnetic pulses directly to specific parts of the brain to address the patient’s particular mental disorder. The H-Coil design results in greater activation of neurons, less likelihood of targeting errors, and powerful efficacy.
A lot of patients say that the helmet reminds them of the dryers at a beauty shop. This is a good analogy, because just like a hair dryer, patients can relax and move around during the treatment. Once the helmet is positioned, the patient can read a book, watch a movie, or catch up on social media – whatever they want.
Other key parts of the Deep TMS device include:
Comfortable chair – The patient is seated upright in a comfortable chair during the treatment. They remain awake and alert, as no sedation or anesthesia is required.
Cap – Patients wear a special cap under the helmet that contains a grid, allowing the technician to find the motor threshold for an adequate response to Deep TMS. The grid helps to position the helmet so that it only targets the relevant location in the brain.
Chin strap – Similar to the chin strap on a bicycle helmet, our helmets also use a cushioned chin strap. This helps to keep the helmet in place, allowing patients to move during treatment.
Screen – Patients see their technician typing on a large screen on the device. The screen allows the technician to program the device to ensure the patient receives the specific treatment for their indication at the proper level.
As a noninvasive procedure, Deep TMS™ is a well-tolerated treatment that does not cause any systemic side effects. There is no recovery period, and the treatments can easily be integrated into your day-to-day schedule.
It usually takes a few weeks for patients to start feeling relief from their symptoms, however, some people notice subtle improvements sooner. They may feel more alert, have more energy during the day, or have more patience. The majority of patients benefit from Deep TMS after a full course of treatments, with follow-up maintenance treatments sometimes needed.