Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is a non-drug treatment for depression that uses magnetic pulses to electrically stimulate nerve cells in the brain and relieve symptoms of depression. In many cases, TMS may be effective in treating severe depression that hasn’t improved with antidepressant medication.

TMS therapy is available by prescription only and is administered under the supervision of a psychiatrist. TMS is offered at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, and Northwestern Medicine Central Dupage Hospital.

Is TMS right for you?

You may benefit from TMS treatment if you have severe depression that has not improved with antidepressant medication.

Before scheduling your treatment, you must be evaluated by a TMS psychiatrist. TMS is offered at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, and Northwestern Medicine Central Dupage hospital.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about TMS.

About the Procedure

During TMS therapy, you are awake and reclined in a comfortable chair. A TMS nurse will place a small device on your head, which delivers magnetic pulses to a targeted area of the brain, stimulating the areas that affect your mood. The electricity won’t hurt you or damage your skin or hair.

A TMS therapy session typically lasts 40 – 60 minutes, and is administered daily, for up to six weeks. Your psychiatrist will decide how long and how often you should receive TMS therapy. After a few weeks of daily treatments, many patients find that their is depression easier to manage, even without medication.

Female patient tms treatment Northwestern Medicine doctor talking to a patient tms treatment


Locations Performing this Treatment