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Tampa General assembles the most sophisticated Neurosurgical Operating Room in the Bay area

Published: Apr 4, 2014

By Tampa General Hospital


April 4, 2014 (Tampa, FL) – MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a powerful tool that allows neurosurgeons to see the difference between healthy and diseased brain. So powerful, that at Tampa General Hospital, the MRI has been brought right into the operating room. In most operating rooms, neurosurgeons must make their best estimation when removing brain tumors during surgery. It isn't until an MRI is completed after surgery—sometimes days or weeks before doctors know if all of the tumor was successfully removed. Tampa General neurosurgeons will now be able to use the first Intraoperative MRI in the Bay area. TGH is only one of six hospitals in Florida to acquire it. Neurosurgeons can remove tumors more completely the first time and avoid repeat surgeries. It can also be used for a variety of neurosurgical procedures and conditions. The technology that gives neurosurgeons access to real-time MRI images in the OR is the most advanced and powerful imaging technology in the world. The two-room suite has the capability of an operating room on one side while the other room is used for storage of the MRI when not being used for surgery. While in that storage area, it can also be used for routine diagnostic scans. The equipment, called VISIUS Surgical Theatre, has a ceiling mount that allows it to move between two rooms. The iMRI is housed in a room next door to the operating room behind thick surgical sliding doors and on command, the doors open and the MRI is powered in on a track and placed around the patient’s head on the operating room table while in surgery. Another important attribute of the Intraoperative MRI Surgical Suite is that TGH has been able to develop a method to connect, in real time, the patient and the anesthesia machine to the patient’s electronic record in Epic via a wireless connection. (Epic is Tampa General’s electronic software program.) It continually feeds all of the patient’s vital signs and the volume and flow of inhaled gasses used to keep the patient asleep into Epic. To the best of our knowledge, TGH is a first hospital in the world to offer this. A Breakthrough in Technology and Care While neurosurgeons enjoy the advanced technology of VISIUS iMRI, patients are the real benefactors. The use of this imaging system is much safer, as the patient is never moved once positioned for surgery. The high resolution images provided by the system will lead to better precision in complicated neurosurgery techniques, likely meaning fewer repeat surgeries for brain tumor patients. “We are cutting the ribbon on the most advanced and first of its kind Operating Theater in the Tampa Bay region. With a state-of-the art 3 Tesla MRI that “floats” in and out of the room on command to monitor the progress of surgery, we can now see how a patient’s surgery is going and affect the outcome rather than see how surgery went and accept the outcome. And after all, THIS IS BRAIN SURGERY”, said Harry van Loveren, MD, neurosurgeon at Tampa General Hospital, Interim dean of USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and chair of the college’s Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair.