Press release


World-first at Charité: Birth in „open“ MRI

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Cooperation between radiology and obstetrics lead to success

Die letzen Sekunden vor der Geburt, ein MR-Bild kurz vor dem Austritt des Kopfes
Abbildung Offener Magnetresonanztomograph (Philips, Panorama HFO)
Picture: Open magnetic resonance imager (MRI) (Philips Panorama HFO)

An interdisciplinary team of scientists from the CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin have achieved a world-first, the birth of a child in an “open” MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner that allows a mother-to-be to fit fully into the machine. Through the cooperation of the obstetrician Dr. Christan Bamberg, the radiologist Dr. Ulf Teichgräber and the engineer and project manager Felix Güttler, unique images of the baby inside the mother and the child's movements in the birth canal up to the point of the exit of the head were obtained. The birth that took place in the scanner went smoothly and both mother and baby were in good health.

The joint project was a two-year research and development project of the radiological technically-oriented working group on “open high-field MRI". The team built a special “open MRI” scanner, a new type of machine whose open structure had the necessary space for the mother to give birth. One of the innovations of this new system was the creation of a new fetal monitoring system. This allowed the monitoring of the child's heartbeat on MRI during the birth process. The open high-field MRI (Philips Panorama HFO) is a novel device whose design allows easy access to mother and child enabling the researchers to study in greater detail how the baby moves through the mother’s pelvis and down the birth canal.

The object of the interdisciplinary research team now is to investigate ideas developed in the 19th century concerning the natal process and the movements of the unborn child in the mother's pelvis and down the birth canal. In a cooperative effort, the institute of Radiology under the direction of Prof. Bernd Hamm and the Department of Obstetrics with Director Prof. Ernst Beinder will work closely together. Among others, a primary aim of the scientists is to better understand why about 15 percent of pregnant women require a Caesarean section because the baby does not progress properly into the birth canal.



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