The global MR imaging in neurosurgery market was valued at USD 94.30 million in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 152.94 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 5.52% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
The diagnostic technique known as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) creates precise images of the body's organs and structures by combining a powerful magnet, radiofrequency technology, and a computer. MRI does not employ ionizing radiation, unlike X-rays or computed tomography (CT scans). According to Johns Hopkins University, intraoperative MR imaging in neurosurgery provides a real-time brain view during surgery, allowing them to detect and remove abnormalities in the tissues precisely and safely. In neurosurgery, MR imaging is done with MRI systems, MR imaging in neurosurgery surgery instruments, and other tools. It is also in charge of making pictures of the brain to help neurosurgeons get a better idea of what to do during surgery.
The rise in the prevalence of neurological disorders requiring surgical intervention is one of the leading factors that propel the growth of global MR imaging in the neurosurgery industry. Neurological diseases and mental disorders have emerged as severe public health concerns and substantial challenges to healthcare systems worldwide. Genetic disorders, congenital anomalies or disorders, infections, lifestyle, or environmental health problems such as malnutrition, brain injury, spinal cord injury, or nerve injury are some of the causes of neurological problems.
Research published in the Journal of Neurosurgery in April 2018 claims that the number of cases that requires neurosurgical consultation every year is 22.6 million, and out of them, 13.8 million cases require neurosurgery every year. Furthermore, 80% of the cases arise from low- and middle-income countries. This increase in patients requiring neurosurgery has led to more demand for performing MR imaging in neurosurgery, thus propelling the market's growth.
Robots have moved closer to diagnosis and patient care in recent years. The demand for robots in minimally invasive surgeries, particularly neurologic, orthopedic, and laparoscopic procedures, is a significant driver of this increase. As a result, various robots are being developed, and there has been constant technological advancement in robotics and medical imaging. For instance, Aspect Imaging Ltd. is one of the key players in the global MR imaging in neurosurgery companies as it offers a novel point-of-care MR imaging system, Embrace, particularly for neonates. This enables babies to be scanned without leaving the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Moreover, Hyperfine Inc. was the first company to develop an MRI system that is capable of producing neuroimaging at the point of care, named Swoop. The MRI system, Swoop, is also portable and can be placed and plugged bedside of the patient. The system has an open design, which helps patients with anxiety to undergo MR imaging comfortably. In addition, many companies, such as AiM Medical Robotics and Promaxo Inc., focus on developing robotic-assisted portable MRI systems for neurosurgery.
The high investment cost in MRI and robotic-assisted surgeries has been a significant challenge and barrier to adopting robotic-assisted MR imaging. For instance, as per a study published by NCBI, titled, ‘Robotic System for MRI-Guided Stereotactic Neurosurgery,’ the cost of neurosurgery robots that aims to perform microsurgery and stereotaxy using different tools can be formidably high. The high cost of sensors used in flexible robots that are specifically useful for neurosurgeries is another significant challenge, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Robotics Research, Applications, and Automation. These challenges include material restriction, actuator restriction, and sensor restriction.
The development of cost-effective robotic-assisted MRI systems has started widely. The surgical robots built by the manufacturers can be more efficient and reliable. Moreover, they can have safe sensors and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). In addition, new motors are developed for surgical robots that use plastics and ceramics instead of metallic components making the robots not get affected by machines that release magnetic waves, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners. These types of materials make them cost-effective.
Furthermore, as per an article published on Robohub, titled, ‘Developing Cost-Effective, Capable, Surgical Robots with a Sense of “Touch,”’ the robots for surgical purposes are becoming cost-effective. They are more capable of new medical applications. Also, the new materials used in making cost-effective robots, such as plastics and ceramics, make them more compatible with MR imaging in neurosurgery equipment as they are not affected by the waves emitted.
The global MR imaging in neurosurgery market is segmented by types, products, and end-user.
By types, the global MR imaging in neurosurgery market is divided into conventional MR imaging devices and robotic-assisted devices.
The conventional MR imaging devices segment is the highest contributor to the market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 5.43% over the forecast period. In a wide range of clinical applications, comprising neurology, conventional MRI is the gold-standard imaging technique. However, some of the limitations of conventional MR imaging in neurosurgery devices have made way for the development of more technologically advanced systems that enable a more in-depth characterization of alterations in tissue. The growing prevalence of neurosurgeries is one of the leading contributors to the growth of conventional MR imaging in the neurosurgery market. Conventional MR imaging in the neurosurgery market is expected to witness the emergence of several specialized startups during the period forecast period. These companies are expected to gain market share by leveraging niche technologies and engaging in partnerships and business alliance activities.
Robotic-assisted MRI has gained popularity in recent years owing to the technological advancements in robotics and its growing applications in the medical field. The harmful effects of ionizing radiation associated with CT scans are a major driving factor for robotic-assisted MRIs. The use of the robotic-assisted system along with pre-operative MRI instead of a CT scan reported higher safety owing to a reduction in radiation exposure. Robotic systems enable automated stereotaxy and are therefore being implemented in various types of stereotactic surgeries such as deep brain stimulation (DBS), MRI-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), and stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG).
For instance, Neuroblate by Monteris Medical and Visualase by Medtronic plc offer robotic systems for MRI-guided LITT. In June 2018, scientists at the University of Hong Kong designed the world's first robotic system capable of performing bilateral stereotactic neurosurgery in an MRI scanner. However, the adoption of robotic-assisted MRIs is currently low globally owing to factors such as the high investment cost.
By products, the global MR imaging in the neurosurgery market is segmented into systems and instruments and accessories.
The systems segment owns the highest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.60% for the forecast period. The systems refer to the scanners, machines, platforms, and systems that perform MRI. This segment comprises MR imaging systems used in neurosurgery and is either MRI-compatible or MRI-guided. Intraoperative MRI (iMRI) using MRI scanners within the operating room (OR). While open MRI systems offer uninterrupted patient access, they are limited by their relatively lower-quality images. Closed MRI systems, in comparison, provide high-quality photos; however, it restricts patient access. One of the major obstacles impeding the expansion of worldwide MR imaging in the neurosurgery market is establishing an intraoperative MRI suite that considers each of these parameters. However, the key factors driving market expansion are iMRI's capabilities to display real-time images and provide surgical assistance. The updated information generated by the iMRI during the procedure helps the surgeon readjust the surgical approach, thus increasing the system's accuracy.
Instruments and accessories used along with MRI systems in neurosurgery include ablation devices such as Automatic Image Registration (AIR) by Brainlab AG, Exablate Neuro by Insightec, and Sonalleve by Profound Medical. These devices are indicated for the ablation of brain tumors using MRI guidance for obtaining real-time feedback and continuous treatment monitoring.
Robotic-assisted MR imaging in neurosurgery consists of both tethered and untethered MRI-driven robots. In addition, tethered robots require MRI-driven catheters that can bend their shape on being subjected to magnetic forces generated by the MRI system and control the robot. These catheters are attached to the patient as the robotic device enters the MRI machine. Therefore, catheters are an essential form of accessory used in the case of tethered MRI-driven robots. Furthermore, accessories for robotic-assisted MR imaging in neurosurgery use advanced robotic parts with a uniform magnetization profile so that they can be used reliably inside an MRI scanner without being affected by the machine's strong magnetic field.
By end-user, the global MR imaging in neurosurgery market is segmented into hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and others.
The hospital segment is the highest contributor to the market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 5.57% throughout the forecast period. When it comes to implementing MR imaging equipment used in neurosurgery, hospitals are at the forefront. The rise in neurosurgery and patient care is one of the driving forces behind using MR imaging equipment for neurosurgery. The use of MR imaging in neurosurgery in both private as well as public hospitals has constantly been increasing. One of the major driving factors for the segment's growth is the increase in minimally invasive surgeries in hospitals. These surgeries require imaging to verify the accuracy, and for neurosurgery, iMRI is performed.
The growing prominence of outpatient surgeries and the rising establishment of ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are leading factors promoting the growth of global MR imaging in the neurosurgery market. Prioritizing the growing need for minimally invasive surgeries that are easier to do and need imaging during the surgery could help make MR imaging in neurosurgery more popular and influential in ambulatory surgery centers. Some significant drivers for the adoption of MR imaging in neurosurgery in ASCs include personalized care to the patients and reduced recovery time. In addition, the delivery of patient-specific care has assumed high priority across regions. Furthermore, the growth in the use of ambulatory surgery centers in developing countries is also expected to increase during the forecast period.
By region, the global MR imaging in neurosurgery market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of the World.
North America is the highest contributor to the global MR imaging in neurosurgery market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 5.46% during the forecast period. Some key reasons propelling the market's expansion in North America are the region's highly developed healthcare system, significant technological advancements in medical imaging and robotics, and the increased need for minimally invasive surgery. For instance, the most considerable number of robotic-assisted surgeries are performed in the U.S.
Furthermore, several companies are offering intraoperative MRI in the U.S., and several hospitals are adopting such systems. For instance, many hospitals in the U.S., such as Barnes Jewish Hospital, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, and St. Louis Children's Hospital, among others, have intraoperative MRI machines in the neurosurgical operating room. However, the equipment's capital-intensive nature and the high investment cost hinder the adoption of such systems and, subsequently, the market's growth. In the U.S., medical devices are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure they work well and are safe for patients and users. In Canada, medical devices are regulated by the Medical Devices Bureau (MDB) of Health Canada's Therapeutic Products Directorate (TPD) by the Federal Food and Drugs Act under the authority of the Medical Devices Regulations.
Europe is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.76% over the forecast period. The technologically advanced landscape, funding to support research and development, and the rising adoption of advanced MRI scanners and robotic systems by hospitals in Europe are the key factors driving the market growth in this region. For instance, in December 2021, the Versius robotic system was adopted by the first public hospital in Italy, Policlinico di Milano, thereby increasing access to robotic-assisted surgical procedures in the country. In addition, the first robotic-assisted brain surgery using the Mazor Robotics Renaissance system by Neurosurgical Associates, PC, was conducted in Germany in July 2012. The main reasons influencing the market's growth in Germany are the rising demand for sophisticated minimally invasive surgery and technical, medical imaging, and robotics advancements. However, the high cost of investment associated with the installation of MRI scanners and robotic systems is hindering the market's growth.
Asia-Pacific is expected to grow significantly over the forecast period. The high prevalence of neurological disorders requiring surgical intervention and the rising preference for minimally invasive surgical procedures are key factors driving the market growth. Additionally, MR imaging is far more readily available and less expensive for patients in Japan than in countries like the U.S. Also, in March 2022, South Korea partnered with India under a bilateral R&D program to develop a training program for robotic-assisted surgeries. This shows that countries are also focusing on increasing and expanding R&D in the market.
In Latin America, the high prevalence of neurological disorders requiring surgical intervention, the rising preference for minimally invasive surgeries, and the adoption of robotic surgeries are key factors driving the market growth. For instance, a paper published in Revista De Gastroenterologia De Mexico in March 2019, titled 'Fully Robotic Pancreatoduodenectomy First Procedure in Mexico,' discusses the first fully robotic surgical procedure carried out in Mexico at Hospital General. However, the challenges associated with research and development (R&D) in neuroimaging and neurosurgery are vital factors restraining market growth. According to a paper published in Frontiers in Neurology in March 2021, titled, 'Neuroimaging Research on Dementia in Brazil in the Last Decade: Scientometric Analysis, Challenges, and Peculiarities', R&D activity in Brazil have been limited to a few centers in the Southeast region.
AiM Medical Robotics, Aspect Imaging Ltd., Brainlab AG, Canon Inc., Deerfield Management, Esaote S.p.A, FAULHABER, Fonar Corporation, Fujifilm Holdings Corporation, General Electric Company, Hyperfine Inc., Insightec, Koninklijke Philips N.V., Medtronic plc, Monteris Medical Corporation, Profound Medical Corp., Promaxo Inc. (neuro42, Inc.), Siemens AG, and Synaptive Medical and Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc.
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