Objective: Intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is now available with the General Electric MRI system for dedicated intraoperative use. Alternatively, non-dedicated MRI systems require fewer specific adaptations of instrumentation and surgical techniques. In this report, clinical experiences with such a system are presented.
Methods: All patients were surgically treated in a "twin operating theater," consisting of a conventional operating theater with complete neuronavigation equipment (StealthStation and MKM), which allowed surgery with magnetically incompatible instruments, conventional instrumentation and operating microscope, and a radiofrequency-shielded operating room designed for use with an intraoperative MRI scanner (Magnetom Open; Siemens AG, Erlangen, Germany). The Magnetom Open is a 0.2-T MRI scanner with a resistive magnet and specific adaptations that are necessary to integrate the scanner into the surgical environment. The operating theaters lie close together, and patients can be intraoperatively transported from one room to the other. This retrospective analysis includes 55 patients with cerebral lesions, all of whom were surgically treated between March 1996 and September 1997.
Results: Thirty-one patients with supratentorial tumors were surgically treated (with navigational guidance) in the conventional operating room, with intraoperative MRI for resection control. For 5 of these 31 patients, intraoperative resection control revealed significant tumor remnants, which led to further tumor resection guided by the information provided by intraoperative MRI. Intraoperative MRI resection control was performed in 18 transsphenoidal operations. In cases with suspected tumor remnants, the surgeon reexplored the sellar region; additional tumor tissue was removed in three of five cases. Follow-up scans were obtained for all patients 1 week and 2 to 3 months after surgery. For 14 of the 18 patients, the images obtained intraoperatively were comparable to those obtained after 2 to 3 months. Intraoperative MRI was also used for six patients undergoing temporal lobe resections for treatment of pharmacoresistant seizures. For these patients, the extent of neocortical and mesial resection was tailored to fit the preoperative findings of morphological and electrophysiological alterations, as well as intraoperative electrocorticographic findings.
Conclusion: Intraoperative MRI with the Magnetom Open provides considerable additional information to optimize resection during surgical treatment of supratentorial tumors, pituitary adenomas, and epilepsy. The twin operating theater is a true alternative to a dedicated MRI system. Additional efforts are necessary to improve patient transportation time and instrument guidance within the scanner.