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Intraoperative MRI – Advantages and Uses – Apollo Hospitals Blog

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Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Intraoperative MRI or iMRI) is a procedure in which, images of the brain is generated during brain surgery. Neurosurgeons depend on Intraoperative MRI technology to generate accurate images of the brain that guide them to remove brain tumors and other abnormalities during the surgery.

How does Intraoperative MRI work?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) makes use of radio waves and a magnetic field to create detailed, full images of the organs and tissues in our body. MRI is helpful especially for imaging of the brain.

In order to use MRI technology during operation, physicians use special operating rooms and imaging systems such as:

  • Nearby Intraoperative MRI devices that are kept in a room close to the operation theatre so that surgeons can easily move the patient to the adjacent room for imaging during the surgery
  • Portable Intraoperative MRI that are moved into the operation theatre to generate images

At certain times in the surgery, the surgeon may request imaging with Intraoperative MRI. When and how often Intraoperative MRI images are generated during the operation depends on the procedure a patient in undergoing and his/her condition.

What are the Advantages of Intraoperative MRI?

Although surgeons may use imaging tests to plan brain surgery, real-time images generated using Intraoperative MRI are critical to:

  • Differentiate abnormal brain tissue from normal brain tissue. It is quite a challenge to distinguish the edges of a brain tumour and separate abnormal tissue from normal tissue. Imaging with Intraoperative MRI during the operation helps confirm successful removal of the entire brain tumour.
  • Identify abnormalities if the brain has shifted. Our brain often shifts during surgery. This sometimes make pre-surgical imaging less precise. Imaging with Intraoperative MRI during the surgery gives surgeons most accurate information.

Intraoperative MRI helps surgeons achieve a more complete removal of difficult brain tumours. This is precisely the reason, Intraoperative MRI has become the standard of care for surgeries to remove certain brain tumours.

What are the uses of Intraoperative MRI?

Surgeons use Intraoperative MRI to assist in operations done for:

  • Brain tumour
  • Pediatric brain tumours
  • Epilepsy
  • Dystonia
  • Glioma
  • Essential tremor
  • Parkinson‘s disease
  • Neuropsychiatric disorders
  • Pituitary tumors


Neurosurgeons use intraoperative MRI to generate real-time brain images while the patient is undergoing surgery. MRI makes use of radio waves and a magnetic field to generate detailed images of our brain.

Verified By Dr Pavan Kumar Rudrabhatla
MBBS, MD General Medicine (JIPMER, Pondicherry) DM Neurology (SCTIMST, Trivandrum) Fellowship in Epilepsy (SCTIMST, Trivandrum), Consultant Neurologist Apollo Hospitals, Health City, Visakhapatnam
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