We need to raise £1.5m to bring state-of-the-art intraoperative MRI (iMRI) technology to the Children’s Hospital for the first time. 

An MRI becomes intraoperative when it has the specialist technology needed to allow the scanner to move to a patient on an operating table, or a patient to the scanner. 

The benefit of an iMRI is it allows surgeons to obtain ‘live’ and up-to-date information about the brain and the position of a tumour. 

Donate to our £1.5m iMRI Appeal 

Currently a child is put to sleep and an MRI brain scan is taken to obtain the images needed by our neurosurgeons ahead of surgery. Once these images have been analysed the child is given another general anaesthetic and the surgeons complete the operation. 

During the surgery, the brain will change shape. This means the pre-operative imagery becomes outdated, leaving surgeons at risk of not removing all the tumour. 

Within three days of the operation, the child is put back to sleep again (for a third time) for a subsequent MRI scan to assess whether the surgery was a success. If the MRI reveals some of the tumour has remained, the surgeons evaluate whether a second operation is required or whether to keep the tissue under review, causing additional stress for our patients and their families. 

Occasionally, our surgeons consider carrying out an off-site intraoperative MRI.  

When this happens the child is put to sleep and the surgery started. Midway through the operation the child, still anaesthetised, is closed up and moved from the operating theatre on the second floor of the Children’s Hospital to the ground floor to receive a MRI scan.  

If the scan confirms the tissues have been cleared the child is woken up and taken to recovery. If the scan shows some tumour remains, the child is moved back up to the second floor and returns to theatre. 

An off-site intraoperative MRI adds approximately four hours to the process, during which time the child remains under continuous general anaesthetic. This is an additional four hours which could be avoided if we had our own bespoke iMRI technology.  

By making iMRI a reality for our hospital, we will be able to: 

  • Improve surgical outcomes for at least 60 children a year – more than one a week 
  • Eliminate follow-up scans requiring further general anaesthesia 
  • Vastly reduce the need for a second operation, sparing patients and families from another lengthy surgical procedure 
  • Reduce a patient’s time in hospital 
  • Increase our neurosurgical team’s capacity to perform additional operations. 

Please help us to raise the £1.5m needed. Donate today. 

Donate to our £1.5m iMRI Appeal