Team AVR - Control, Vision and Robotics Lab

IMRI-Surg: All-in-one interventional MRI solution for assistance to percutaneous procedures

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The use of MRI in interventional radiology is still marginal compared to fluoroscopy, computed tomography (CT)-scan and ultrasonography due to technical and economical limitations. Nonetheless, MRI is a non-ionizing medical imaging technique that offers significant advantages over the abovementioned modalities, by being the most flexible imaging modality in terms of imaging plane position and orientation, compared to ultrasound (operator dependent) and CT/fluoroscopy (limited slice orientation or need for 3D acquisition). Moreover, MR provides good tissue differentiation thanks to the diversity of contrast it allows for, providing thus clear contrast for many pathologies, as well as for areas at risk that must be preserved (e.g. lungs or vascular structures). In this context, the objective of this project, led in collaboration with Siemens Healthcare, is to develop an all-in-one (software and hardware) solution for the assistance to MRI-guided percutaneous procedures.

Keywords: in vivo validation, preclinical trial, clinical trial, medical imaging, minimally invasive surgery



Elodie Breton, Pr. Michel de Mathelin, Pr. Afshin Gangi


The project has been awarded a Strasbourg IHU grant in 2012. It is based on the collaboration of the team with Siemens and the Interventional Radiology Department of Strasbourg Hospital(Prof. A. Gangi).

Interventional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: iMRI

This project is organized in 5 specific aims, namely (1) to develop an interventional MRI (iMRI) research software for assistance to percutaneous procedures that will provide real-time display of relevant information, such as needle paths or MR thermal maps, (2) to develop an object tracking solution for image plane servoing in real-time MR monitoring of percutaneous procedures, (3) to develop an MR compatible laser pointer for needle placement prior to percutaneous procedures, (4) to develop and optimize novel tools for the monitoring of thermal ablations in real-time, such as interventional MR thermometry and MR Elastography, and (5) to validate these technical developments in clinical validations. Only by developing a complete, all-in-one solution can MRI be used in a clinical routine as a guidance imaging modality for minimally invasive surgery. The development of our dedicated iMRI software, object tracking solution for real-time MR monitoring of percutaneous procedures, as well as the development of the needle laser pointer will facilitate iMRI procedures and consequently shorten both procedure duration and medical staff learning process. In addition, interventional MRE (iMRE) will provide a novel MR contrast directly related to structural properties of the tissue, potentially improving the precision of needle placement and the monitoring of thermo-ablation. At the end of this project, we expect to improve patient care by significantly increasing the availability of MR-guided percutaneous procedures. In the short term, this goal would translate into Siemens commercializing their currently Works-In-Progress iMRI package.

Hybrid tracking

Interventional MRE

Major facts

  • October 2016: The new IHU building has opened!
  • May 2016: N. Corbin receives a Summa Cum Laude and wins the 3rd prize student award from the MRE study group for her work on interventional MR Elastography in 24th annual meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), Singapore (Corbin N, Vappou J, Rao P, Wach B, Barbé L, Renaud P, de Mathelin M, Breton É: In vivo monitoring of percutaneous thermal ablation by simultaneous MR Elastography and Thermometry)
  • Decembre 2015: Nadège CORBIN defends her Phd thesis entitled "Interventional magnetic resonance elastography dedicated to the monitoring of percutaneous thermal ablations". Congrats!
  • June 2015: N. Corbin receives a Magna Cum Laude and wins the First Prize student award of the MR Elastography Study Group at ISMRM 2015 in Toronto for her work, Development of an interventional MRE system dedicated to percutaneous procedures assistance (N Corbin, Q Boehler, E Breton, L Barbé, P Renaud, M de Mathelin, J Vappou).
  • April 2014: First intervetional MRI paper accepted: N. Corbin et al., Interventional MR Elastography for MRI-Guided Percutaneous Procedures, Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, DOI: 10.1002/mrm.25694
  • July 2014: Nadège CORBIN receives the Best Presentation Award in Biomatériaux – Imagerie – Robotique for her talk "Interactive Real-Time Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) for MR-guided Percutaneous Procedures" at the 2nd scientific days of Fédération de Médecine Translationnelle de Strasbourg (FMTS)
  • February 2014: Markus NEUMANN defends his PhD thesis entitled "Automatic multimodal real-time tracking for image plane alignment in interventional Magnetic Resonance Imaging". Congrats!
  • May 2012: The project has been awarded an IHU grant for 3 years, starting in Sept. 2012.