Transforming brain surgery at GOSH

The Tick Tock Club has now raised the £13.6 million needed to build the new state-of-the-art Khoo Teck Puat iMRI Suite. It will transform the way brain surgery is performed at Great Ormond Street Hospital to improve the outcomes for our young patients. 

Complex brain surgery

The Neurology and Neurosurgery teams at GOSH see more children with brain tumours and perform more operations for patients with epilepsy than any other hospital in the country.

Precision is paramount to ensure that surgeons can successfully treat children without irreparably damaging the healthy parts of the brain. The development of MRI scans has increased accuracy and precision to guide surgeons in performing operations.

But brain surgery is complex, and that means our teams are in urgent need of a new facility. Currently, surgeons rely on images of the brain taken before surgery to guide them through the operation, but structures in the brain can move during surgery, meaning pre-operative scans can quickly lose their accuracy. In addition, tumours are sometimes located under arteries or nerves, making them undetectable to the naked eye.

Surgeons know that removing as much of a tumour or affected area as possible is crucial – the more they remove, the more likely a child is to be successfully treated – but they must also be extremely careful not to damage healthy tissue during the process. Unfortunately, the current facilities at GOSH mean that children must wait several days after an operation for a scan of their brain. During this time, patients and families face a difficult and anxious wait until surgeons are able to confirm if all the affected area has been successfully removed.

In order to obtain these new scans, children may need another general anaesthetic procedure. If the scans reveal that some tumour or part of a lesion was left behind, further surgery may be needed, risking another anaesthetic and invasive operation, and creating another anxious wait for parents.

Precise imaging

In a major step forward, the hospital’s Neurology and Neurosurgery teams plan to make the uncertainty and risk associated with multiple procedures a thing of the past. They plan to integrate an MRI scanner into a new operating theatre to create the Khoo Teck Puat iMRI Suite. This facility will make imaging the brain during operations a seamless procedure, giving more critically ill children the best chance of a positive result.

“To say to parents with complete certainty, at the end of surgery, that we have done all we can to improve the life of their child, will make a world of difference.”

Kristian Aquilina
Consultant Paediatric Neurosurgeon

The new imaging suite

The Khoo Teck Puat iMRI Suite will mean answers are quicker and will allow surgeons to push harder for the best possible outcome. The new facility will benefit hundreds of children at GOSH and will include:

  • A new integrated operating theatre
    This new theatre will embrace the latest in theatre technology, including brain mapping and navigation software to guide a surgeon throughout the procedure. It will also include a built-in shuttle system to safely transport patients seamlessly from the theatre to the MRI scanner without the child leaving the operating table.
  • 3T MRI scanner
    A state-of-the-art 3T MRI scanner will offer outstanding clarity and high-definition images of the brain, giving surgeons the optimum information for their decision-making.
  • Two anaesthetic rooms
    One anaesthetic room will have direct access to the theatre and the other will connect to the MRI scanning room. Crucially, each room will provide a friendly and calm environment that will allow parents to stay with their child before their surgery until they are asleep.
  • Control room
    A dedicated area will allow radiographers, radiologists and surgeons to interpret real-time imaging during an operation and agree how best to proceed with the patient’s surgery.
  • Scanning room
    The scanning room will be a purpose-designed, child-friendly environment that will create as welcoming a space as possible for our young patients.