Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (iMRI)
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UW Health neurosurgeons at University Hospital offer real-time intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) for neurological surgery procedures.
The iMRI technology allows UW Health neurosurgeons to take real-time images of a patient's brain during surgery. These images are used by the neurosurgeons to pin-point exact locations within the brain.
The Mechanics of Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (iMRI)
UW Hospital and Clinics neurosurgeons use state-of-the-art technology during the iMRI process. The iMRI equipment includes a stereotactic targeting device with optimal precision and stability, which allows surgeons to target the exact area of the brain on which they will operate.
Once set, the iMRI device projects clear images of the brain to a monitor in the operating room from which the surgeon works. The images function as a map of the brain, and because the map is so precise, the surgeon's work is as accurate as it can possibly be.
Why is it important to perform surgery with MRI guidance?
MRI guidance allows the neurosurgeon to view real time scans of the brain. Real time imaging means patients do not have to be transferred to another part of the hospital for a scan. The scans happen during the surgery.
iMRI and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)
For deep brain stimulation surgery performed with iMRI, the patient arrives the morning of the scheduled surgery. Before surgery begins, the patient will be put under general anesthesia and then wheeled into the MRI machine to receive a scan to identify where leads will be placed.
From there, the surgery will take place without moving the patient. Once surgery is finished, another MRI scan will take place to verify lead location. Then the patient will be brought back to recovery.
Benefits of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Surgery with iMRI
- Patients may be asleep throughout entire surgery
- Patients can take regularly scheduled medications before and after surgery
- Patients can arrive at the hospital the morning of the surgery
iMRI and Brain Tumors
For brain tumor surgery performed with iMRI, the procedure will be temporarily interrupted so an MRI image can be gathered while the patient is still under anesthesia. This allows the surgeon to assess whether or not additional surgical work is required.
Benefits of Brain Tumor Surgery with iMRI
- Allows the patient's surgeon to remove the maximum amount of tumor
- Generally reduces the number of surgeries because the surgeon is able to assess the successfulness of the surgery before the patient is awake