Health Professional News

Nation’s first pediatric hybrid intraoperative MRI neurosurgery suite opens at Children’s Minnesota

Children’s Minnesota is now home to North America’s first pediatric hybrid intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) suite equipped with both moving-scanner and moving-patient MRI technology in the same surgical space.

This state-of-the-art neurosurgery technology allows our Kid ExpertsTM to make enhanced clinical decisions using mid-procedure MRI scans directly at the point of care to improve patient outcomes.

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation iMRI Surgical Suite – named after the philanthropic foundation that generously committed a $5.5 million lead gift to the iMRI suite – is a 2,970 square-foot, three-room neurosurgery space. Children’s Minnesota’s neurosciences program and radiology department use the facility located inside our Minneapolis hospital to perform both brain and total spine scans mid-procedure directly at the point of care.

iMRI suite MPLS
The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation iMRI Surgical Suite (click on image to enlarge)

These procedures include operations for:

  • Brain tumors
  • Epilepsy
  • Traumatic injuries

The first procedure was performed inside this cutting-edge neurosurgery suite on March 3, 2023.

Designed with purpose

The iMRI suite’s design allows experts to seamlessly move a 16,200-pound MRI scanner directly from the facility’s diagnostic room into one of the space’s neurosurgery operating rooms via a ceiling-mounted rail system. The floorplan also allows patients in the suite’s second operating room (OR #1) to be moved next door into the diagnostic room for a mid-procedure MRI. It’s design also allows procedures to take place in both operating rooms as the scanner is being used in the diagnostic room simultaneously.

The image of the floorplan shows the MRI magnet in the position for diagnostic imaging. The ceiling-mounted rails for the MRI magnet are shown in dotted red lines that depict how the scanner can be transported to operating room (OR) #10 from the diagnostic room when needed for surgical cases. The gray shaded area (OR #2) is not a newly constructed area within the iMRI suite.

Click on image to enlarge

Clearer MRI scans

The strength of the MRI scanner in the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation iMRI Surgical Suite, measured in the unit of Tesla (T), is a gamechanger. The suite’s 3T MRI scanner, compared to 1.5T or smaller  scanners at other medical facilities, makes a major difference in the quality of each scan used to locate and remove remaining cancerous tissue. Our neurosurgery team compares the clarity of a 3T scan to watching ultra-high definition TV rather than a standard TV.

Developing updated, real-time care plans

According to Dr. Meysam Kebriaei, medical director of the neurosurgery program at Children’s Minnesota, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation iMRI suite will enhance how his team makes important decisions directly at the point of care before a patient’s incision is closed.

MRI image source: IMRIS

Dr. Kebriaei explains that if a mid-procedure scan detects additional tumors, his team can develop a plan in real-time to remove the remaining cancerous tissue. This crucial process will help prevent additional procedures for many of our patients and maximize their chances for a good outcome.

Referral resources

To refer a patient or connect with a kid expert 24/7, call the Children’s Minnesota Physician Access line.

Doctors and healthcare providers call for 24/7 patient referral, admission and neonatal transport assistance. Learn more.