The Latest Neurosurgical Techniques, Technology, and Training


When a cancerous tumor grows in the brain, it can occur in all sorts of odd shapes and sizes. The goal of removing a tumor during surgery is to remove as many known cancerous cells as possible. In other parts of the body where tumors grow, surgeons often remove tissue around a tumor as well as the tumor itself to increase the chances that all known cancerous tissue is removed. In the brain, doing so can affect brain function.

"Intraoperative MRI" means that while your child is undergoing surgery, he or she also is undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging scan that maps the brain in real time. Using intraoperative MRI helps surgeons pinpoint the location of tumors and lesions, which has several benefits:

  • Some tumors previously considered inoperable can be surgically removed.
  • Post-operative treatment, such as radiation and chemotherapy, are more effective when more of the cancerous cells have been removed.
  • Patients may be able to go a longer period of time without a tumor recurrence, or may not have a tumor reccurence at all.

You can read a story about the intraoperative MRI at Children's in Children's Practice Magazine.

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  • If you are a family member looking for a Children's neurosurgeon or another specialty surgeon, visit Find a Doctor.

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An MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, system allows physicians to watch blood and electrical impulses travel through the brain. The 3 Tesla MRI System, available at Children's through a partnership with Abbott Northwestern Hospital, is twice as powerful and faster than standard MRI machines. The system provides detailed views of anatomy as well as metabolic functioning. For example, prior to brain tumor surgery, 3 Tesla MRI images allow the neurosurgery team to better map the tumor and determine its relationship with areas of the brain involved in important functions such as speech and movement. After surgery or tumor treatment, 3 Tesla MRI images provide the team with a dynamic portrait of the metabolic and physical changes happening in the tumor.

Innovations in neurology and neurosurgery have greatly improved the quality of life for children with neurological conditions. The neurosurgery team at Children's is committed to the constant pursuit of better care for these children through adoption of the latest techniques, technology, and training, such as: