Revolutionary technology is allowing neurosurgeons unprecedented views of the brain during surgery at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, the first hospital in Illinois to use intra-operative MRI. The operating room MRI system improves the accuracy of brain surgery for children and adults by providing real-time, high-quality images of the brain before, during and after surgery.
This state-of-the art technique offers a tremendous advantage for the removal of brain tumors. Once an operation has started, the brain can shift up to a centimeter. With the ability to view MRI images during surgery, uncertainties resulting from brain shift can be eliminated and physicians can be more precise in determining the location and size of the tumor.
The system inherently makes surgery safer for patients, improves patient outcomes and reduces hospital stays. By pinpointing the exact location of the tumor, the system helps doctors avoid critical structures and ensures the entire tumor has been removed before the patient leaves the operating room. There are fewer complications and less potential for recurrence.
Surgery may now be an option for some brain tumor patients who previously were considered too high risk. This technology allows physicians to more confidently operate on low grade tumors that look very similar to normal brain tissue or are blended into healthy tissue. The MRI can highlight the margins that can't be seen with the naked eye.
Acquiring the intra-operative MRI was made possible due to the generous support of the Midwest Children's Brain Tumor Center. The Center's Advisory Board launched the $2 million Our Children FIRST initiative last year to raise funds for the intra-operative MRI and fund lifesaving research using the new technology.