VISIUS iMRI and ClearPoint guidance platform make DBS surgery an option for children with dystonia

Patients can sleep during deep brain stimulation procedure using intraoperative tools 

IMRIS Inc. (NASDAQ: IMRS; TSX: IM) ("IMRIS") and MRI Interventions, Inc. (OTCQB: MRIC) today announced that Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, is the first U.S. pediatric hospital to offer asleep deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery to children suffering from dystonia by utilizing the combination of MRI Interventions' ClearPoint® Neuro Intervention System and an IMRIS VISIUS® Surgical Theatre for real-time intraoperative image guidance and procedure visualization.

Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, is the first U.S. pediatric hospital to offer asleep deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery to children suffering from dystonia by utilizing technologies from MRI Interventions IMRIS for real-time intraoperative image guidance and procedure visualization. (CNW Group/IMRIS Inc.)

"The VISIUS iMRI and ClearPoint guidance platform make DBS surgery an option for these children," said Dr. John Honeycutt, Medical Director of the Cook Children's Department of Neurosurgery, who led the first two pediatric asleep DBS procedures in early November. "It is very difficult for children to remain awake during surgery, and the real-time intraoperative visualization and guidance we use with these technologies means they do not have to."

DBS surgery is usually performed on patients who are awake so the surgeon can assess the placement of leads (wires) by observing the effect of stimulation in an area of the brain. This is very difficult for children to manage, and children with dystonia have a lot of involuntary movement. However, the combination of ClearPoint and VISIUS iMRI technologies enables Dr. Honeycutt to observe the surgical instruments and exact target location in the patient's brain throughout the operation in real time, allowing these young patients to sleep through surgery and reduce the anxiety associated with it.

Using these technologies, Dr. Honeycutt is able to see and select the desired neurological target area, establish a trajectory, and visualize the target on MR images as the electrode is inserted to the desired location.

Dystonia is a debilitating neurological movement disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions and twisting and repetitive movements. DBS is an important therapeutic option for patients for whom medication is not adequate treatment. The therapy involves the implantation of a brain "pacemaker" device system, usually below the shoulder which sends electrical impulses through wires to specific parts of the brain. The electrical impulses are intended to interfere with the neural activity that causes the involuntary movement and painful muscle contractions. Unfortunately, children with dystonia often do not make good candidates for conventional DBS surgery due to the awake nature of the lead placement procedure.

For neurosurgery, VISIUS iMRI at Cook Children's uniquely brings high-field MRI to the patient inside the operating room on ceiling-mounted rails. The fully integrated suite allows the scanner to move between an operating room and a diagnostic room, providing on-demand access to high resolution MR images - before, during and after procedures without moving the patient.

The ClearPoint platform is the only technology that enables minimally-invasive neurosurgery under continuous MRI guidance, which provides superior visualization of the brain's tissue compared to other imaging technologies and is the only imaging technology that will safely allow continuous soft tissue visualization during surgery.

In addition to asleep DBS, the ClearPoint system has been used within a VISIUS Surgical Theatre to facilitate focal laser ablation and direct drug delivery in the brain.

"As one of a select group of pediatric neurosurgical centers with an IMRIS iMRI today and one of the largest neurosurgical programs in the Southwest, we continue to demonstrate our institution's commitment to the care of children with these complex neurological disorders," Honeycutt added. "Our adoption of the ClearPoint system in the VISIUS iMRI to enable asleep DBS for these young patients is representative of this commitment."

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