P. Verheyden, S. Katscher, Th. Schulz, F. Schmidt, Ch. Josten

October 1999, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 346 - 353 SSE Clinical Science Award 1999 Read Full Article 10.1007/s005860050186

First Online: 26 October 1999

Introduction: The latest open MRI technology allows to perform open and closed surgical procedures under real-time imaging. Before performing spinal trauma surgery preclinical examinations had to be done to evaluate the artifacts caused by the implants. Methods: The MRT presented is a prototype developed by GE. Two vertically positioned magnetic coils are installed in an operation theater. By that means two surgeons are able to access the patient between the two coils. Numerous tests regarding the material of instruments and implants were necessary in advance. The specific size of the artifact depending on the pulse sequence and the positioning within the magnetic field had to be examined. Results: The magnifying factors of the artifact in the spin echo sequence regarding titanium are between 1.7 and 3.2, depending on the direction of the magnetic vector. Regading stainless steel they are between 8.4 and 8.5. In the gradient echo sequence the factors are between 7.5 and 7.7 for titanium and between 16.9 and 18.0 for stainless steel. The tip of an implant is imaged with an accuracy of 0 to 2 mm. Since September 1997 16 patients with unstable fractures of the thoracic and lumbar spine have been treated by dorsal instrumentation in the open MRI. Percutaneous insertion of the internal fixator has proven a successful minimally invasive procedure. The positioning of the screws in the pedicle is secure, the degree of indirect reduction of the posterior wall of the vertebral body can be imaged immediately. The diameter of the spinal canal can be determined in any plane. Discussion and conclusion: The open MRI has proven useful in orthopedic and trauma surgery. The size and configuration of the artifacts caused by instruments and implants is predictable. Therefore exact positioning of the implants is achieved more easily. Dorsal instrumentation of unstable thoracolumbar fractures with a percutaneous technique has turned out safe and less traumatic under MR-imaging. Real-time imaging of soft tissue and bone in any plane improves security for the patient and allows the surgeon to work less invasively and more precisely.

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