Creating a Clinical Interventional MRI Service

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The expansive technological developments that occurred over the past decades have clearly moved the field of Interventional MRI beyond the arena of the “proof of concept” to a viable option for minimally invasive diagnosis and therapy. State-of-the-art MRI technology can currently be employed to identify an occult target pathology, confidently steer an interventional device into complex anatomy, accurately deliver a device, drug, or energy, and/or monitor the real time effect of a treatment. Implementing a full-scope interventional MRI service requires substantial physical and conceptual modifications of the traditional diagnostic MRI environment. As such, it is essential to recognize that interventional MRI does not only involve the actual MRI-guided interventional event but should rather be perceived as a whole foundation of technology, development, set-up, conceptual training, and an institutional culture that realizes the opportunities offered by and understands the challenges and limitations of MRI-guided interventions. At Emory University, we had the privilege to build a de novo interventional MRI suite and to subsequently operate a high volume clinical interventional MRI service. The Emory program was launched with the goal of establishing a destination site for a comprehensive clinical service of MRI-guided interventions. The experience gained and the lessons learned are shared with the readers in this article.

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