New Surgical Suite at University of Minnesota Medical Center Receives 7.2 Ton Magnet

The University of Minnesota and Fairview Health Services are about to embark on a first in surgical history. Construction is currently underway for new, state-of-the-art neurosurgical operating rooms at the University of Minnesota Medical Center – East Bank Hospital. “It will be the most advanced surgical suite in the world,” said Dr. Charles Dietz, Head of the Department of Radiology at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

The suite will contain a 7.2-ton intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (IMRI) unit to the third floor. Once installed, the magnet will be mounted to the ceiling, making it accessible from all four rooms. Named T-suite, for its shape, the suite will revolutionize the way brain cancers are treated by allowing surgeons to see what is happening in a patient’s brain during surgery. 

The T-Suite also includes an observation room that overlooks the hybrid operating room. “It's like the VIP box in the football stadium. People from all over the world, scientists and surgeons could come and see how we do it here,” said Dr. Clark Chen, Head of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Installation of the IMRI magnet will allow clinicians to view the images without having to transfer the patient to the scanner, thus reducing the risk of infection to the patient. 

This collaborative endeavor combines innovative academic research with clinical expertise to offer patients the most technologically advanced care in the world. This specific project is part of a multi-year, $111 million renovation project at the University of Minnesota Medical Center that will also expand the emergency department and improve the patient experience at the medical center. The T-Suite installation started in 2018 and is expected to be complete this fall.

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