The roles of functional MRI in MR-guided neurosurgery in a combined 1.5 Tesla MR-operating room

H. Liu, W. A. Hall, Chip Truwit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose. During MR-guided neurosurgical procedures performed in a combined 1.5 Tesla MR-operating room (MR-OR), we have successfully implemented and validated a functional MRI (fMRI) scheme for efficiently localizing eloquent functional areas and assessing their proximity to a lesion volume immediately prior to the craniotomy. Methods. The fMRI examination consists of a dynamical blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) MR imaging technique and a task paradigm that is designed to activate the brain area of interest. The functional imaging technique was based on gradient- echo (GE) echo-planar imaging (EPI) (TR/TE = 2000-3000/40-50 msec). The motor task paradigm involves a periodic movement task, such as alternating between thumb and the other four fingers as a finger-tapping task, while the language involved a covert repeat of a series of words given as a task stimulus. While patient is performing the task, a dynamical fMRI was performed concurrently covering the volume of interest every 2 or 3 sec. Also, we have used a temporal series averaging (TSA) method for correcting the background drift in the raw fMRI signal, and developed a scheme for presenting fMRI results to neurosurgeons in an intuitive 3- dimensional volume-rendered display format. Results. By using the fMRI scheme, we have successfully performed sixteen fMRI examinations immediately prior to neurosurgery in the combined MR-OR on the same surgical table to localize various eloquent functional areas of interests. TSA was successful in reducing the background drift in the fMRI time course data, and the 3-dimensional volume-rendered display was proven effective in presenting the resulting brain activations to neurosurgeons. More importantly, in three representative cases (one biopsy and two tumor resections) presented, the information provided by fMRI have indeed contributed significantly in making the optimal surgical decisions prior to craniotomy. Conclusions. Intra-operative fMRI can be an indispensable tool for determining the location of a neighboring eloquent functional area of concern in reference to a targeted lesion. Information provided by fMRI has helped in improving the outcome and clinician confidence of all surgeries performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalActa Neurochirurgica, Supplement
Issue number85
StatePublished - 2003


  • BOLD
  • Brain activation
  • Eloquent functional area
  • Interventional MRI
  • Neurosurgery
  • fMRI


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