Safety, efficacy, and functionality of high-field strength interventional magnetic resonance imaging for neurosurgery

Walter A. Hall, Haiying Liu, Alastair J. Martin, Christopher H. Pozza, Robert E. Maxwell, Chip Truwit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

221 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Interventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows neurosurgeons to interactively perform surgery using MRI guidance. High-field strength (1.5-T) imaging permits exceptional observation of intracranial and spinal pathological features. The development of this technology and its application to a variety of neurosurgical procedures are described. METHODS: We report on the first 101 cases that were treated in the interventional MRI unit (between January 1997 and September 1998). These cases included 39 brain biopsies, 30 tumor resections, 9 functional neurosurgical cases, 8 cyst drainages, 5 laminectomies, and 10 miscellaneous cases. Patients ranged in age from 14 months to 84 years (median, 43 yr); 61 patients were male and 40 were female. Intraoperative functional techniques that were used to influence surgical decision-making included magnetic resonance spectroscopy, functional MRI, magnetic resonance angiography and venography, chemical shift imaging, and diffusion-weighted imaging. All surgery was performed using MRI- compatible instruments within the 5-gauss line and conventional instruments outside that line. RESULTS: All 39 brain biopsies yielded diagnostic tissue. Of the 30 tumor resections, 24 (80%) were considered radiographically complete. The incidence of serious complications was low and was comparable to that associated with conventional operating rooms. One patient developed a Propionibacterium aches brain abscess 6 weeks after surgery and another patient experienced Staphylococcus aureus scalp cellulitis after a brain biopsy, yielding an infection rate of less than 2%. No clinically significant hemorrhage was observed in immediate postoperative imaging scans, although one patient developed a delayed hematoma after a thalamotomy. One patient experienced a stroke after resection of a hippocampal tumor. No untoward events were associated with MRI-compatible instrumentation or intraoperative patient monitoring. CONCLUSION: High-field (1.5-T) interventional MRI is a safe and effective technology for assisting neurosurgeons in achieving the goals of surgery. Preliminary results suggest that the functional capabilities of this technology can yield data that can significantly influence intraoperative neurosurgical decision-making. The rates of serious complications, such as infection, associated with this new technology were low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-642
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000


  • Image-guided surgery
  • Interventional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Tumors


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