[ MGH Hotline
recently added a new dimension in technology to further advance
care for patients: the Polestar N-10 Intraoperative Magnetic
Resonance Imaging (MRI) system.
device differs from other MRIs in that, rather than being
heavy and stationary, it is compact enough to easily maneuver
in a standard operating room.
is the MRI equivalent of a portable X-ray," says Robert
Martuza, MD, chief of MGH Neurosurgery. The machine can be
wheeled to the patient table during surgery and can be stored
underneath the table when not in use.
touts the MRI's benefits as a state-of-the-art surgical tool.
"This device makes surgery safer for our patients,"
he says. "Physicians now can view images during the actual
operation, rather than having to look at images made preoperatively
and postoperatively. The MRI offers real-time visualization
during all stages of brain surgery, so that neurosurgeons can
plan the path of the surgery at every point."
new MRI also gives a much more accurate road map of brain
tumors, so that surgeons can clearly see where the tumor begins
and normal tissue ends. This allows clinicians to verify that
all of the tumor has been removed prior to ending the surgery
eliminating unnecessary second operations for patients.
It also aids in quickly detecting possible intraoperative
or postoperative problems.
of MRI first was used in Tel Aviv and Switzerland. It was
brought to the MGH through the efforts of Brooke Swearingen,
MD, of MGH Neurosurgery, who established contact with Odin
Medical, the company that manufactures the machine. The MRI
now is used in surgery at the MGH several times a week, and
neurosurgeons have been pleased with the results.
use in the operating rooms (OR) creates many possibilities.
"This machine is easy to incorporate as a routine part
of the OR, with regular instruments," explains Martuza.
While large and bulky MRIs once prohibited surgeons from operating
with standard neurosurgical instruments in the space they
required, he says, "We now can perform complex neurosurgery
with standard equipment, in a standard neurosurgery OR, with
all of the necessary tools readily available. The machine
can be quickly moved out of the way or can stay in place as
expects that the intraoperative MRI eventually will be an
asset not only for the eradication of brain tumors, but also
for other types of neurosurgery, including pediatric neurosurgical
procedures. "Its portability makes it an excellent candidate
for surgery on the brain or spine of small children,"
to the new MRI, MGH Neurosurgery also offers portable Computed
Tomography (CT) scans in the OR and in the Intensive Care
Unit. "Intraoperative imaging allows the surgeon to see
changes within the brain as the surgery progresses,"
Martuza says. "We are one of the few hospitals to offer
both an intraoperative MRI and portable CT scanning. Each
has its own specific imaging advantages in the OR, and it
is great to be able to make the best technology available
to every patient."