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University Medical Center Announces Availability of State’s First Intraoperative MRI

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NEW ORLEANS, LA –University Medical Center New Orleans is pleased to announce the availability of the state’s first Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (IMRI), giving surgeons access to advanced, real-time data and diagnostic quality imaging during procedures. Housed within a surgical suite at University Medical Center, the IMRI is a Philips Ingenia MR-OR model featuring advanced 3-tesla technology.
The use of the IMRI is intended to allow neurosurgeons to more accurately identify abnormalities by creating images of the brain in the middle of an operation. This capability will reduce the rate of re-operation on patients while also improving surgical workflow and providing critical decision support to physicians.

Neurosurgeons at University Medical Center performed the first procedure using IMRI on August 4.

Philips, the machine’s developer, has reported the MR-OR system as being the fastest, most versatile intraoperative MRI ever developed by the company for brain and spine neurosurgery. Its focus on “fast, smooth workflow” has historically kept transfer times between MR and OR to just a few minutes.

University Medical Center President and CEO Bill Masterton said University Medical Center’s investment in this intraoperative technology is part of the hospital’s continued commitment to innovation, academics, and quality care.

“Incredible breakthroughs are made every day in medicine because of incredible healthcare professionals and technology like the Intraoperative MRI,” Masterton said. “I am proud to say we have both at University Medical Center and am eager to see the impact this machine will have in improving patient care – not just at our hospital but throughout the state.”

University Medical Center’s state-of-the-art imaging equipment also includes one of only 20 spectral CT scanners in the U.S., providing multiple layers of data for advanced diagnostics. Opened in August 2015, University Medical Center is the academic medical center of LCMC Health, and a partner with two medical schools, LSU Health New Orleans and Tulane University School of Medicine, to train the next generation of physicians.

According to Frank Culicchia, M.D., director of University Medical Center’s Neurosciences Service Line and chair of the LSU Health New Orleans Department of Neurosurgery, the IMRI will “significantly advance” neurosurgical care in the Gulf Coast region.

"[The Intraoperative MRI] allows the surgeon to better evaluate a brain tumor during the procedure rather than the following day or later in the day,” Culicchia said. “By assessing the surgical resection of the tumor during the procedure, one can come closer to complete resection or determine that the remaining tumor is in such a vital area of the brain that resection would leave the patient with a neurological deficit."

Jason Wilson, M.D., a neurosurgeon at University Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurosurgery at LSU Health New Orleans, said patients will benefit greatly from having local access to this technology. Not only will the machine contribute to patients’ overall survival, but it allow for them to receive treatment without an out-of-state referral.

“Patients can be treated with surgery and any necessary adjuvant therapy here in New Orleans instead of having to leave their homes and family to travel out of state,” Wilson said. “The IMRI is another essential component in comprehensive cancer care at University Medical Center.”

For more information on this new imaging technology, please visit

About University Medical Center New Orleans

Opened in August 2015, University Medical Center New Orleans is the academic medical center of LCMC Health, a Louisiana-based, not-for-profit health system. University Medical Center New Orleans serves as a key partner of LSU Health Science Center New Orleans, Tulane University School of Medicine, and other academic institutions. University Medical Center is home to the Rev. Avery C. Alexander Academic Research Hospital, named in honor of the respected Civil Rights and community leader who served in the Louisiana Legislature for more than 20 years.