Newer Technology Benefits Patients Who Need Brain Surgery

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Jill Chadwick

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Most people understand what an MRI means when doctors prescribe the test using magnetic resonance to produce an image.  It’s a test frequently used to identify and help remove brain tumors.  Typically, MRI machines are located far from the OR which is exactly the place neurosurgeons need it the most. The ideal situation is to have the MRI closer to the OR, patient and surgeon.  “That’s exactly what our new iMRI machine will do,” Dr. Paul Camarata, chair of neurosurgery at The University of Kansas Health System said.  “The ‘i’ stands for intraoperative.  It is a game-changer for the level of care we will be able to provide our patients in need of brain surgery due to tumors or other neurological disorders that require an operation.”

The iMRI is the first in the region and it was recently installed into the third floor of the new Cambridge North Tower.  The machine is so heavy it had to be hoisted using a heavy crane to ‘fly it’ into the building.  (See a time lapse video below) Although MRI technology is not new, the iMRI is cutting edge and not readily available due to the cost.

“Philanthropy made this purchase possible and it will greatly help our patients,” Dr. Camarata said.  In the interview below, Dr. Camarata talks more about the challenges of having an iMRI so close to an operating room where all the instruments are metal, how valuable the imaging capabilities in ‘real time’ are during surgery and how the machine can be used even when no surgery is in progress.