Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an FDA-approved treatment for major depressive disorder (including reduction of anxiety symptoms, commonly referred to as anxious depression) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Smoking (nicotine) addiction is another FDA approved treatment using this device, but is not offered at this time at our facility. As long as major depressive disorder or OCD is the primary reason for TMS treatment, other psychiatric conditions may be present and TMS may be safely administered with usual odds for a successful treatment. Studies are ongoing to investigate the use of the Brainsway and other TMS devices to treat other neuropsychiatric disorders. Most of this research for other conditions is limited, so it is difficult now to predict whether these other conditions will or will not improve, or even possibly worsen with TMS. The TMS procedure uses a specialized helmet containing a copper coil in a complex shape which targets the brain with magnetic pulses. These pulsations create weak electrical currents that stimulate parts of the brain in patients suffering from depression. The location and power (magnetic flux) of these pulses are carefully calibrated to your actual brain response, different in each person, based on matching the output of the TMS device to make your fingers or toes just barely twitch (motor threshold). See this link for an overview of the Brainsway device, from the company website:
How the Brainsway TMS device works
Here is a compendium of TMS research, with a focus on the Brainsway device:
Compendium of Research, Brainsway
If interested, see this link for a technical description of the Brainsway device, with focus on the H-7 coil: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17434440.2021.2013803
The NorthShore Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences offers this service through Evanston Hospital for patients experiencing moderate to severe depression that have not experienced improvements in their condition through antidepressants or other psychotherapies.
Qualifying for TMS
TMS is only used for patients with major depressive disorder who have not seen results with previous treatments. In order to qualify for TMS, patients must:
Brief Summary of the Experience Receiving TMS
Treatment will take place over at least 4 weeks, which requires patients to come to Evanston Hospital every weekday. The first session will take 1 hour, and further sessions will be about 45 minutes. After 4 weeks, sessions will taper off with a maximum of 36 treatments depending on each individual patient’s condition and response to TMS. Patients will schedule times for each TMS treatment in coordination with the TMS nurse.
After the full course of the TMS procedure series (up to 36 treatments), your response using the same standard scales for depression and anxiety will be used to determine if you have responded (at least 50% better) or remitted (near normal). Your response to treatment will be communicated back to your referring psychiatrist. Response to TMS varies for each patient – changes are anticipated within 2-4 weeks, but not all patients will experience a change in mood. If treatment is found to be ineffective, your care team will work with you to consider next steps, in coordination with your referring psychiatrist.
This procedure is covered by most, but not all insurance companies. Medicaid does not cover TMS, even when Medicaid is secondary coverage to Medicare. Please contact your insurance carrier for more information.
For More Information
TMS is currently offered at NorthShore Evanston Hospital. For more information on the procedure, to find out if you qualify or to schedule a consultation, please fill out our consultation request form. You can also view the TMS FAQs page.
*If you have additional inquiries about qualifying for TMS or the procedure, you may contact 847.570.2756 .
If you have any thoughts of harming yourself or others, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.