Semin intervent Radiol 1999; 16(1): 23-30
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1082186
Copyright © 1999 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging Guidance for Intracranial Neurosurgical Procedures

Terence Z. Wong* , Richard B. Schwartz , Peter McL. Black , Eben Alexander  III , Ference A. Jolesz
  • *Department of Radiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
  • †Department of Radiology, Division of MRI and
  • ‡Department of Surgery. Division of Neurosurgery Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
05 September 2008 (online)


A 0.5 Tesla open configuration magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system (SignaSP [GE Medical Systems; Milwaukee, WI]) is sited in an operating room environment at Brigham and Women's Hospital for MRI-guided surgical and interventional procedures. The vertical gap provides patient access to two surgeons or interventionalists, whereas open flexible transmit-receive coils allow exposure of the surgical field. A major application of this system at Brigham and Women's Hospital is intraoperative MRI guidance for intracranial biopsies and open craniotomies. During the past 2œ years, more than 200 intracranial procedures have been performed using intraoperative MRI guidance. For intracranial biopsies, MRI guidance provides several advantages, including high sensitivity for lesion localization; interactive navigation, eliminating the need for a stereotactic frame; multiplanar image confirmation of biopsy site location; and early detection of complications. Based on our experience with open craniotomies, we think that image guidance significantly improves the ability of the neurosurgeon to resect abnormal tissue selectively while preserving adjacent eloquent areas. Furthermore, our experience indicates that intraoperative imaging offers advantages over conventional stereotactic image guidance, including the ability to compensate for shifts in brain position during surgery, and allows for early identification of complications. Intraoperative MRI-guided neurosurgery is a multidisciplinary effort involving the neurosurgeon, neuroradiologist, technologist, nursing staff, and engineers. In our experience, there is little doubt that MRI guidance improves the technical aspects of the neurosurgical procedures; however, the impact of this technology on clinical outcomes and cost effectiveness await further study.