Sunday, February 21, 2016

iMRI better assists surgeons during operations

There is a new, state-of-the-art MRI machine being introduced to neurological centers across the country that drastically improves the outcomes for brain cancer patients. According to an informative page on the Mayo Clinic website, this new technology is called “intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging” or iMRI. This is a procedure that creates an image of what the brain will look like during surgery. Neurosurgeons can utilize this to guide them in procedures more accurately when removing tumors or other growths during surgery. The article I found talks about the installation of this program to a hospital in Illinois.
            One point in the article that I thought was important was the comparison of how surgery went better with the use of the iMRI. The staff at the Illinois Neurological Institute Brain Tumor Center (INI) said that the use of the scans allowed them to easily distinguish between tumor and healthy tissue, reduce the disruption of normal tissue, and adjust their surgical plan based on the scans. They say on day one the technology was already worth it, which was important for people to know how much this technology can help with risky surgeries. Another important point that was discussed by the team was an example of the machines features. One of the members of the team at INI said, "The iMRI allowed us to see a small cubic centimeter residual tumor against the brainstem. We then were able to remove this residual cancer prior to closure, allowing a more complete resection adjacent to dangerous areas while preserving normal brain function." The iMRI allowed the team to accurately see the margins of a small tumor only a centimeter in width, which was close to crucial parts of the brain and safely remove it without any loss of function. This was an important part of the article because it shows how this technology is helping surgeons take strides in the neurology world. One more topic of the article that was very important was the benefits to the patients. The doctors at INI talked about how before the iMRI, doctors would have to estimate about how much of the tumor they got, then do scans after the surgery, and then possibly have to go in again to get what they’ve missed. With the iMRI they can scan while they are doing the surgery and get updates of their progress. This leads to fewer surgeries, fewer mistakes, and better outcomes.
            One topic that the article did not cover was the expenses of getting one of these machines. Being state-of-the-art technology, it would not be cheap, and if it is extremely expensive, is the cost worth it? Another topic the article did not discuss was the availability of this technology elsewhere. It did state that INI was one of the 2 hospitals in the state of Illinois to have this technology, but what about at other, larger hospitals or brain clinics. Another point the article did not talk about was uses of the iMRI other than brain tumors, according to the Mayo Clinic website, the machine can be used for a number of other things, such as treating epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease more effectively. However, overall, I thought it was an informative article.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Grace,
    I think this is a very interesting article and it is a great example of how we are starting to rely on technology more and more to help us preform very important tasks. We are beginning to trust technology so much that we allow it to help us with things such brain surgery like we read in the article. It is good to know that this new technology is a success when it says that the surgeries went better when using the iMRI. The use of this type of technology is very helpful because it allows us to see every nook and cranny the brain has to offer through the use of the scans. It would be difficult for humans to see these small parts of the brain and this could make it difficult to properly preform the functions needed to cure the patient. I think you make a great point when you say that they never mention how expensive one of these machines may be. I would tend to believe that they would be pretty expensive. While these machines may help out the doctors in the long run, the price may be too steep to overcome at this point in the process. The other point that you bring up that I think is valid is the idea that there is no talk of the use of this machine on patients suffering from diseases other than brain tumors. If these machines can be used for the purpose of curing multiple diseases, they can greatly improve the health of people around the world and be the next wave of technology to change the world.


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