Developing an intraoperative 3T MRI-guided brachytherapy program within a diagnostic imaging suite: Methods, process workflow, and value-based analysis

Matthew S. Ning, Aradhana M. Venkatesan, R. Jason Stafford, Thao P. Bui, Richard Carlson, Neil S. Bailard, Sastry Vedam, Rasheda Davis, Nicholas D. Olivieri, Alexis B. Guzman, James R. Incalcaterra, Florence A. McKelvey, Nikhil G. Thaker, Gaiane M. Rauch, Chad Tang, Steven J. Frank, Melissa M. Joyner, Lilie L. Lin, Anuja Jhingran, Patricia J. EifelAnn H. Klopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: We integrated a brachytherapy procedural workflow within an existing diagnostic 3.0-T (3T) MRI suite. This setup facilitates intraoperative MRI guidance for optimal applicator positioning, particularly for interstitial needle placements in gynecologic cases with extensive parametrial involvement. Methods and Materials: Here we summarize the multidisciplinary collaboration, equipment, and supplies necessary to implement an intraoperative MRI-guided brachytherapy program; outline the operational workflow via process maps; and address safety precautions. We evaluate internal resource utilization associated with this progressive approach via time-driven activity-based costing methodology, comparing institutional costs to that of a traditional workflow (within a CT suite, followed by separate postprocedure MRI) over a single brachytherapy procedural episode. Results: Resource utilization was only 15% higher for the intraoperative MRI-based workflow, attributable to use of the MRI suite and increased radiologist effort. Personnel expenses were the greatest cost drivers for either workflow, accounting for 76–77% of total resource utilization. However, use of the MRI suite allows for potential cost-shifting opportunities from other resources, such as CT, during the procedural episode. Improvements in process speed can also decrease costs: for each 10% decrease in case duration from baseline procedure time, total costs could decrease by roughly 8%. Conclusions: This analysis supports the feasibility of an intraoperative MRI-guided brachytherapy program within a diagnostic MRI suite and defines many of the resources required for this procedural workflow. Longer followup will define the full utility of this approach in optimizing the therapeutic ratio for gynecologic cancers, which may translate into lower costs and higher value with time, over a full cycle of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-437
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Cervical cancer
  • HDR brachytherapy
  • Health care value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Oncology


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