Survey Assessment of Utility in Preoperative Magnetic Resonance (MR) Tractography Surgical Planning

Mayur Sharma, Pedro L. Plou, Kevin Gunawan, Michael Ivan, Clark C. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although tractography-guided surgery is used by many surgeons, there is controversy in the published literature as it relates to its clinical utility. Here we adopted a survey-based approach with the goal of attaining a broader view of how tractography influence preoperative planning in a sampling of practicing neurosurgeons. Methods: Three cases were prepared where the presence of a tumor distorted the optic radiation (case 1), arcuate fasciculus (case 2), and corticospinal tract (case 3). This survey was administered at the Medtronic Cranial Consortium attended by 20 practicing neurosurgeons. To avoid commercial bias, we used both the Brainlab and Medtronic platform to compute tractography. Each participant is asked to vote on a surgical trajectory before and after seeing the tractography images, as well as whether tractography added value in validating their surgical approach. Results: In the 3 cases surveyed, 16%–44% of the surgeons changed the surgical corridor selected after seeing the tractography images. The most common finding associated with a change in surgical corridor involved intersection of the surgical corridor with visualized tracts. Consistently, >80% of the surgeons surveyed felt that tractography added value in their surgical planning. Conclusions: The clinical utility of tractography in preoperative planning varies as a function of surgeon and the tumor anatomy, with >80% of the participating surgeons believing that tractography added value in preoperative surgical planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e468-e473
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


  • Brain tumor
  • MR tractography
  • Surgical planning
  • Survey

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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