New surgical suites at the Health Sciences Centre will allow MRIs to be performed on a patient during an operation — enabling surgeons to be more accurate in removing tumours and aiding in the treatment of stroke victims.
The new $25 million surgical centre is located on the second floor of the Kleysen Institute for Advanced Medicine on William Avenue, metres away from where trauma patients arrive. It is believed to be one of only seven such units in the world.
The centre consists of two operating rooms — one for neurosurgery, the other dealing with aneurysms and strokes. The ORs are configured so that an MRI can be performed on the spot.
The federal government contributed $10 million to the project, while the rest is being raised through donations to the Health Sciences Centre Foundation. So far, the foundation has raised more than $10 million towards the surgical suites.
Use of an MRI during surgery will allow neurosurgeons to be more precise in extracting tumours. Sometimes, surgeries are repeated when a subsequent imaging test reveals that a part of a tumour was missed.
"This facility is a game-changer for research and surgical capabilities in our health-care system," said Dr. Neil Berrington, head of neurosurgery at the Health Sciences Centre.
He said the surgical suites will help Winnipeg attract and retain top professionals and enhance the city’s research capabilities. It’s expected that between 150 and 175 operations a year will be conducted in the new centre.
When not used for research and surgery, the MRI will accommodate outpatients for medical imaging appointments.
The powerful MRI used in the surgical centre was built by IMRIS, an intra-operative magnetic resonance imaging equipment manufacturer that was founded in Winnipeg.