A £2m donation from the Marina Dalglish Appeal will allow surgeons at The Walton Centre to scan patients during their operation.

Money from the fund, set up by the wife of former Liverpool FC manager and player Kenny Dalglish, will buy an in-theatre intra-operative MRI scanner (iMRI) and associated equipment and will mean patients with brain tumours and other complex conditions will get access to the very latest technology.

The donation is part of a wider theatres project at the specialist brain and spine hospital. Two new theatres are being built around the iMRI scanner, increasing the existing number of theatres from six to eight, allowing the hospital to treat more patients.

Marina Dalglish said: “The Marina Dalglish Appeal is so proud to be involved in this project at The Walton Centre and really excited at its potential to offer patients in the North West the most advanced diagnosis available.

“Just having this iMRI scanner in Liverpool is of huge benefit to patients, many of who would previously need multiple operations.

“I would like to thank everyone who has supported our Appeal and helped us to raise the money needed to buy this amazing equipment.”

The Walton Centre is unique in being the only stand-alone specialist neuroscience trust. As such, it attracts referrals from across the country.

Demand for the specialist services provided by The Walton Centre continues to grow.

The iMRI/ theatres project will give the hospital more capacity to meet this demand, enabling them to increase the number of patients they are able to treat. It will help keep the hospital at the forefront of neuroscience care and help achieve the best results for patients.

The iMRI system allows the surgeon to visualise more easily the extent and position of the tumour to ensure that all, or as much as possible, of the tumour is safely removed during the operation.

Complicated cases can result in patients needing multiple scans and operations to remove tumours. Having this technology also reduces the chances of a patient needing to return to theatre post-operatively.

Surgeons remove tumours surrounded by delicate brain tissue responsible for the functions such as speech and movement. The added precision provided by this technology – which gives surgeons a highly detailed picture - means more healthy tissue can be spared from damage during the removal of a tumour.

Andrew Brodbelt, Consultant Neurosurgeon at The Walton Centre, said: “The new iMRI is an exciting addition to our surgical facility. Patients will be able to be scanned during surgery, providing surgeons with a more accurate picture of their brain and any remaining tumour that needs to be removed.

“The potential benefits include decreasing the chance of patients needing to go back to theatre for further surgery. We are truly grateful for the support of the Dalglishs in helping to get this project, which has been an ambition of ours for a long time, off the ground and running.”

The new development is being built as an extension to the existing theatre suite at the Fazakerley-based hospital. This means that normal hospital business has been able to continue as usual with no disruption to admissions, surgery or clinics.

Construction firm Interserve is carrying out the build. The company worked with The Walton Centre on its Sid Watkins Building, officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal last year, which houses a specialist complex rehabilitation unit for patients needing intensive rehabilitation following major illness or injury.

The development is currently four months ahead of schedule and is expected to open in February 2017. The iMRI scanner adds to the Trust’s impressive diagnostic suite. There are four MRI scanners already at the hospital.

The total cost of the theatres project is £8.1m. The iMRI and associated specialist imaging and navigation equipment is being funded by The Marina Dalglish Appeal. The building work for the two new theatres and scanner suite and theatre equipment is being funded by the Trust.