Intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) is a new development in medicine that bridges the specialties of surgery and radiology. Deficiencies in the visualization of anatomical architecture and the perception of tumour boundaries in conventional open surgery have led to the integration of imaging within surgery. The superior soft tissue and multiplanar imaging features of magnetic resonance (MR) make this imaging modality superior to that of alternatives. The unique properties of MR to detect heat change and perfusion, and diffusion characteristics of tissue enhance the usefulness of this medium. Concurrent developments in computer aided image guidance and thermoablative technology, herald the era of minimally invasive tumour ablation. Applications have been developed for areas such as neurosurgery, general surgery, gynaecology and urology.