Published online Jan 28, 2012. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v4.i1.1
Revised: October 28, 2011
Accepted: November 4, 2011
Published online: January 28, 2012
In the past few years, there have been multiple advances in magnetic resonance (MR) instrumentation, in vivo devices, real-time imaging sequences and interventional procedures with new therapies. More recently, interventionists have started to use minimally invasive image-guided procedures and local therapies, which reduce the pain from conventional surgery and increase drug effectiveness, respectively. Local therapy also reduces the systemic dose and eliminates the toxic side effects of some drugs to other organs. The success of MR-guided procedures depends on visualization of the targets in 3D and precise deployment of ablation catheters, local therapies and devices. MR contrast media provide a wealth of tissue contrast and allows 3D and 4D image acquisitions. After the development of fast imaging sequences, the clinical applications of MR contrast media have been substantially expanded to include pre- during- and post-interventions. Prior to intervention, MR contrast media have the potential to localize and delineate pathologic tissues of vital organs, such as the brain, heart, breast, kidney, prostate, liver and uterus. They also offer other options such as labeling therapeutic agents or cells. During intervention, these agents have the capability to map blood vessels and enhance the contrast between the endovascular guidewire/catheters/devices, blood and tissues as well as direct therapies to the target. Furthermore, labeling therapeutic agents or cells aids in visualizing their delivery sites and tracking their tissue distribution. After intervention, MR contrast media have been used for assessing the efficacy of ablation and therapies. It should be noted that most image-guided procedures are under preclinical research and development. It can be concluded that MR contrast media have great value in preclinical and some clinical interventional procedures. Future applications of MR contrast media in image-guided procedures depend on their safety, tolerability, tissue specificity and effectiveness in demonstrating success of the interventions and therapies.